Summer’s Here! Talk with Your Kids About Drinking, Drugs and Healthy Fun!
School’s out for the summer! Once again kids everywhere are ready to plunge headlong into vacation which often includes exploring with drinking, drugs, and other forms of summer fun.
With all the young fun on the horizon and excitement in the air, no parent wants to be a party pooper. But if there was ever a perfect time to talk to your kids about drinking, drugs and other unhealthy behaviors, it’s now.
Before they set off on their many summer adventures, overnight stays with friends, and peer-pressured social settings, now is the time for heart to heart, mind to mind, face to face conversation about drinking, drugs, and peer pressure. It is so important to help them understand that a few bad choices with drugs or alcohol can lead to dangerous and even deadly outcomes.
Right now, the entire globe is facing an unprecedented opioid epidemic. Millions of people worldwide are dependent, and the rapidly rising death toll from overdose is staggering. Never before have parents faced such a threat from opioid addiction. Everyday we hear of new dangerous versions of heroin being distributed. Many doctors write prescriptions without thought to addict behaviors. Sometimes children as young as 11 years old are legally being prescribed these dangerous and highly addictive drugs. With more and more opioids on the streets, the greater the likelihood that your child may come into contact with them.
Don’t wait until it’s too late to have this drinking, drugs discussion with them. One current statistic is 129 people in the United States die each day from overdose on heroin, fentanyl, oxycontin, Vicodin and other forms of narcotics or opiates.
Still, while the opiate narcotic situation is new and changing everyday, some things never change. Many children begin consuming alcohol while they’re underage. They start drinking before they finish fully developing, physically, emotionally and mentally. Many young partiers grow into problems drinkers and eventually alcoholics. Alcohol is extremely socially acceptable in most parts of the world. Talking about the seriousness of alcoholism often falls on deaf ears. Responsible parents won’t let this deter them from conversations about alcohol use. Having a serious and stern discussion with their kids about underage drinking is so important. These conversations may seem difficult. Both child and parent can feel awkward or uncomfortable. Have the conversation in a loving, open minded, and supportive way. It is completely possible to develop a common understanding between you and your child. There are many safe alternatives to drinking and partying. This also may be an opportunity for the adults to consider their own consumption of alcohol. Is there daily drinking in the home?
When considering opioid addiction or alcoholism, having a “no nicotine” discussion with your kids may feel like it is pale in comparison. But the truth is, your child is more likely to encounter tobacco or other nicotine products than he or she is opioids or alcohol. And nicotine is just as addictive, dangerous, and worth discussion as any other drug. Luckily, smoking has increasingly fallen out of favor worldwide, but that doesn’t mean it’s totally snuffed out. There are still many kids or young adults who experiment with tobacco, and unless you have a conversation with yours this summer, they might become one of them. Vaping, or electronic nicotine delivery devices are dangerous on many levels. Nicotine is delivered in much higher doses than with smoking tobacco. There are other dangerous chemicals added, and exploding devices are burning houses, cars, and taking out people’s eyes. Be sure to include tobacco use in your drinking, drugs discussion.
Talking Openly is Key
Don’t try to be the popular parents that let their kids drink, drug and be cool. Be strict. Set limits….this is your job as parents.
One of the key protective factors of children engaging in alcohol or drug abuse is an open drinking, drugs discussion with parents. Share your experiences. Your mistakes. Your concerns. Make it clear what your house rules are. This isn’t about being popular. Don’t try to be the popular parents that let their kids drink, drug and be cool. Be strict. Set limits. Be the parent your kids deserve to have. Role model healthy, sober fun. Even if your kids think you are square, uncool and strict. This is your job as parents.
And if your child does have a lapse in judgement, become rebellious or falls prey to peer pressure, and begins the slippery slope slide into alcohol or drug abuse or addiction, it is time to act quickly. Our world-class rehab retreat is here to consult with you as parents, and, if needed, to treat young adults to face their addictions and get back on track!
If you are concerned and not sure if your young adult needs help, give us a call. We care and are here to help.