Parents play the biggest role in the responsibility to keep kids off of drugs and alcohol. According to Drug Abuse Resistance Education program (D.A.R.E.), kids need to feel happy, healthy, loved and supported.
This is accomplished when parents keep an open dialogue with their kids not only with words but also actions.
The Extra Mile
Moms and dads who seriously take the charge to keep their kids off of drugs and alcohol should be checking up on their children and teenagers when they go places states the D.A.R.E. program.
Parents can check to see if their kids are where they say they will be and if that environment is healthy for them. They should also question their children if they observe changes in mood, behavior, lifestyle, friends, appearance and energy level.
Positive Role Model
A recent study on teenage risk while driving by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) concluded that teenagers are more likely to choose risk when peers are present. The study showed brain activity was heightened in the area of the brain that measures the worth of reward when peers were present. The very presence of a peer has vast influence and as a result, transforms peers into role models. But what if parents were able to be the main influencer instead?
The D.A.R.E. program’s mission is to encourage children to make safe and responsible decisions when exposed to drugs and alcohol and encourages parents to be the main healthy influence in their children’s lives.
If kids see the adults in their lives drinking or smoking they will think the behavior is acceptable. They do not understand all the health risks associated with using these substances.
One of the best ways to keep children away from using drugs and alcohol is to set a good example and give them the right tools to resist influence.
In order to make good decisions it takes practice, training and knowledge. According to the D.A.R.E. program, “the earlier you start talking to your children about drugs, the better the chances are they won’t become involved with them.”
Practice helps children know what to say when faced with potential involvement with drugs and alcohol and not be afraid to say “no.”
Another way to keep kids healthy and happy is to keep them involved in extracurricular activities. There are many opportunities with sports, dance, music, theater, dance and other hobbies to achieve. This encourages children to interact with their peers and spend energy on things that are rewarding in a healthy way.