No parent wants addiction as part of their child’s reality and it is a devastating ordeal for many folks experiencing it right now. It touches so much more than the individual, it affects the macrocosm. There are many forms of addiction, but for the purpose of this blog, we are discussing substance addiction.
It is a vital talking-point particularly because it’s effects are so dire. It’s effect on our society, our economy but more importantly our familial fiber, is devastating. It is important to note not every kid experimenting with harmful substances becomes an addict. There are various factors that will contribute to it, genetic predisposition being one of it. But even so, does not necessitate a self-fulfilling prophecy.
However, the naked truth remains; your kids will experiment with drugs and or alcohol. Chances are, so did you.
The more pressing issue is how are you arming your kids for this encounter? Are you scaring them into submission by pointing out the toothless junkie on TV? The homeless man on the street? The vandals, the criminals and degenerates…? Your parable renders itself mighty hopeless when your kid meets the wealthy, well-dressed, drug-enthusiast, with really good teeth…
Instead of fear, how about teaching your kids the value of bravery. Bravery to express their true selves. Bravery to live authentically and not be persuaded because the masses comply. If your kids do not fear their individuality in their home, they will not fear it outside of the home.
Arm them with the ability to think independently by showing them you value their opinions. Allow them to make right and wrong decisions in a safe space, once again, in the home. Praise their good choices and chat about the not-so-good-one’s. When the time comes for your kid to start managing peer pressure he is able to step-up to the the plate with confidence, discerning for himself whether this is a smart or not-so-smart choice, because he has had practice-runs leading up to this very moment. And as defining as this moment is for your kid, it is just as important to you. This is the moment you will know whether or not you have taught your kid that he has the power to save himself from drowning, by just standing up.
Last but not least, Step up Yourself. You cannot teach your kids the value of moderation when you do not have it yourself. You are regularly out of commission with hangovers but expect your kid to call-it when he’s had enough. You cannot feed your kids excessively, indulge their every whim, allow unlimited television and gaming hours, yet expect them to manage their extreme behaviors and addictive inclinations. The medicine cabinet in your bedroom is overflowing with prescription meds and a fun family outing needs a play-area and a slot machine.
You’re worry about your kids not listening to you, you should be worried about them watching you.
If you expect to raise kids with impulse-control, you have got to show some yourself. Stop abdicating. Setting and managing boundaries are your responsibility, your kids were never meant to manage this themselves and when you let them, it is simply bad parenting.
Take a deep breath and remember Your temporary behavior, becomes their permanent consequence.