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Inspire Values In Our Children: Saying "No" To Drugs

By Natasha Robinson, Director, Chemical Use Program

​​As parents of young children, drugs aren't likely to be on your radar screen yet. Instead, you're likely to be more concerned with issues that are common with this age group, like how to deal with temper tantrums or getting your child to go to sleep on time.

But drugs have devastating effects on people's lives, so it's not too early to begin teaching your children about the dangers of drugs. The earlier you start your teaching, the better chances you'll have of shaping your child's attitudes and choices when he or she comes face to face with this issue.

The following are some parenting tips that those with young children can begin incorporating into their teaching and parenting:

  • Studies show that ​drug users have low self-esteem; you should help your children learn to feel important and successful.
  • Children are more likely to say "No" to drugs if they feel loved and wanted.
  • You should praise and respect your children for good behavior and making good choices, listen to their problems, and show concern and care about their feelings.
  • Saying "No" to drugs is easier for children who feel a sense of belonging and acceptance at home and at school.
  • Children who are allowed to make some decisions for themselves and feel a sense of independence are more likely to find it easier to say "No" to drugs.
  • If you trust where your child is, and there hasn't been a violation of that trust, then there may be less need to question them and have them check in.
  • If there is a violation, ​then the questions and checking in can resume. But if they rebuild that trust over time, they may once again receive more freedom.
  • You will miss excellent opportunities to help your children grow up responsibly if you do everything for them and require them to do nothing.
  • Children who are lonely, or are looking for something to soothe their pain, are more likely to turn to drugs for comfort.

The pain associated with the use and/or abuse of drugs by a child is a horrendous experience for both parent and child. By understanding some of the basics of why kids tend to use drugs, you can gain a head start in helping your children learn how to make good choices in life, especially when it comes to saying "No" to drugs.