Back To School: How to promote drug and alcohol prevention with your child
As schools prepare to open and commence fall semesters all around the country, it is important to remember that starting school for youth can be stressful. Even more so with the added stresses and concerns that come with a global pandemic. Children may feel nervous and weary of returning back to school- especially if they finished last school year via virtual learning in their homes. Along with the previously mentioned stressors, the excitement of being able to reunite with friends and gaining a sense of normalcy may lead to higher amounts of youth giving in to peer pressure when it comes to substance use.
Parents can help by remaining informed on current drug and alcohol trends and having recurring discussions with their child about these issues and concerns. Parents need to be able to engage with their children about the facts and harmful effects of drugs and alcohol. According to drugfree.org, teens say that their parents are the most important influence on their view of substances. Here are some tips on how to have a clear, productive, and meaningful discussion with your child about substances:
n Clearly communicate that you do not want your teen using substances.
n Talk short and long term effects of drug and alcohol and the toll is takes on mental/physical health and hinders the ability to make good decisions.
n Explain that experimenting with drugs and alcohol during adolescence is extremely risky and dangerous as their brain is still developing. n Look for blocks of one-on-one time where you can talk to them such as after dinner, to or from school, before bed, while watching
tv together, etc.
n Take a walk or drive together- teens may be more privy to listen when they don’t feel like they are under a microscope.
n Listen to what they have to say too. In order to make the conversation more meaningful, it is important for your child to also be able to express their thoughts about substances also.
n Drastic changes in environment can lead to higher amount of anxiety and isolation can cause detrimental results to someone’s mental health. These factors can negatively af- fect how youth choose to cope with these stressful events and can unfortunately lead to higher use of substances like marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol. Here are some helpful tips from mentalhealthfirstaid.org to ensure you and your child are
familiar cope during these worri- some times:
n Maintain a daily routine and chores.
n Stay connected with family members and encourage your child’s communication with their friends.
n Encourage family exercise such as family walks/hikes, back yard games, swimming, etc.
n Encourage your child to express their feelings creatively such as through journaling, drawing, painting, music, or photography.
n Engage in hobbies such as card games, puzzles, crafts, watching a Netflix show as a family, and cooking meals together.
n Limit screen time when it comes to social media and news outlets.
n Be open and honest about what is going on in the world right now. Make sure your child feels comfortable coming to you to express any fear or anxiety they may be experiencing.
These tips and practices can give both you and your child a peace of mind, allow your child to learn the facts, and help your child say no peer pressure when it comes to substance use while also learning how to cope with stress in a more productive and safe way. Wichita Mountains Prevention Network wishes everyone a safe, healthy, and happy school year
For more tips on how to help prevent substance use Drastic changes in environment can lead to higher amount of anxiety and isolation can cause detrimental results to some- one’s mental health. These factors can negatively affect how youth choose to cope with these stressful events and can unfortunately lead to higher use of substances like marijuana, nicotine, and alcohol. in your child, please “like” us on Facebook or visit wmpn.org.
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