Drugs, including alcohol, are available throughout the United States. While you need to be 21 to buy and consume alcohol, there are also many teenagers and children getting their hands on drugs through their friends, family members and drug dealers on the streets. With this being said, it is important to do our best to prevent addiction within our families. Since October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, it is the perfect time to discuss how to best accomplish this task. 

Starting with Parenting

Your children aren’t born knowing what drugs are or why they need to stay away from them. This is just one reason, as parents, it is important to start educating your children on the negative impacts alcohol and drugs can have on a person’s life including, but not limited to, the following:

  • Helping them make better choices in life
  • Talking to them when they are feeling peer pressured
  • Letting them know it’s okay to say No 
  • Helping them to practice saying No firmly, but respectfully
  • Spending quality time with your children
  • Providing helpful guidance and specific rules about not taking drugs 
  • Not using drugs, even alcohol, in front of your children

As you can see, if you have children, addiction prevention must start with your parenting. Since October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, there isn’t any better time than this to start talking to your children about addiction dangers and prevention

Talking and Listening During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month

Even though October is National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, that doesn’t mean that you should just talk to your children about how dangerous drugs and alcohol are. You must also listen to their concerns, thoughts, feelings and more. The reason this is most important is that when children feel heard and understood, they are much more likely to open up to the adults in their life when they need help. In relation to addiction prevention, if they are feeling peer pressured for example, they may be more willing to come to you first to prevent substance abuse.

Some of the tips that you may want to remember when you are talking to your children about substance abuse and when you are listening to them, as well, include:

  • Learning about the dangers that each specific drug can have on the brains and bodies of teenagers and younger children
  • Discuss why avoiding drug use is so important, especially for people under the age of 25 
  • Stay consistent with family rules and always be clear with them too
  • Correct improper beliefs within your children such as marijuana isn’t dangerous and everyone drinks so it must be safe
  • Avoid television programs, video games, and movies that make doing drugs, getting drunk, or being addicted to other things okay 
  • Find and spend quality time doing things with your children regularly

These are only some of the things that you should think about before you talk to your children about alcohol and/or drug abuse. It is also important to remember these things when you are listening to what they have to say, as well. 

Remember, they are teenagers and children, and they want to be heard. If you boss them around and barely listen to the words coming out of their mouth and the feelings behind those words, they aren’t likely going to tell you the truth and they probably won’t come to you in the future when they need help making the best choices for their life. 

Making SMARTer Choices

Have you ever heard of making SMARTer choices? If not, let’s dive in right now. SMARTer choices mean a person is making the best goals for their current lifestyle and their future. These choices are important for National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and throughout all other months during the year, too. 

SMARTer choices consist of the setting goals in the following ways:

  • Specific goals – ensuring each goal is as specific as possible to help ensure better planning for that goal
  • Measurable goals – being able to put a number or time frame on the goal can help you to increase your chances of achieving that goal
  • Attainable goals – be sure you can reasonably accommodate your time and energy to achieving your goals
  • Realistic goals – are you able to realistically complete your goals in the timeframe or in the number of times you set above during the measurable step
  • Time-based – it is important that you have a time frame such as 6 months set behind your goals, so you have something to look forward to

Have you been setting your goals using the SMARTer method? If not, don’t worry. There are programs that can help you to work on setting better goals. If you already have an addiction to alcohol or drugs, you can work on the SMARTer goal methodology when you attend an addiction rehab center program here at Riverwalk Recovery. 

Safety Comes First

It is important that both you and your children know that safety comes first. Unfortunately, there might come a time when your child slips up and has a drink or a bunch of alcoholic beverages sometimes. They may also try drugs. While this isn’t the best-case scenario, be sure to let your children know that safety is most important. If they find themselves in one of these situations, they need to call someone who is sober to come to get them. This could save their own life and the lives of many others, too.

Making the Best Choices and Great Friendships Along the Way

If you want to help your children during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, one of the things that you should work on them with is making the best choices throughout their life. This includes creating great relationships and friendships along the way. Some of the tips that allow them to do this include:

  • Remembering that everyone is unique and needs to do their own thing at times
  • Teaching them that one person isn’t meant to take care of all your needs (first of all, you are responsible for your own needs being met and others are there to help with that)
  • Praise your children for everything they are doing right 
  • Instill positive self-worth into your children even when they have done something wrong, it’s a learning experience.
  • Check in on who your children are hanging out with (neighbors, friends, and family members)
  • Find quality, substance-free activities that you can do with your children

These are some of the best activities that you and your children can do during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month and during all other times of the year, as well. 

Learn How to Say “No”

There are many children, and even adults, who aren’t great at saying no to others, even when they really need to be doing so. As a parent or other adult in a child’s life, it’s a great idea to teach them now to say “No”, especially during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month. Some of the tips that you can use to help your children to properly say no include:

  • Doing role-play scenarios in which different circumstances come up where they must say no for their own well-being
  • Using reasoning behind their “Nos”
  • Suggesting something other than alcohol or drug abuse to do
  • Leaving the situation by calling a parent or another trusted adult
  • Having a sober buddy

These are some of the best ways your children can say no to alcohol and drug use.

Get Addiction Treatment Help Today at Riverwalk Recovery

Now that you have some ideas of how to help your children prevent addiction, especially during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month, you can begin working with them. Remember, though, if your child has already developed substance abuse issues, that doesn’t mean they don’t have a chance at a better future. 

You can contact us today, here at Riverwalk Recovery Center, to get them the addiction treatment and help that is so greatly needed.

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