By: ATSI Admin
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Educating Children about Drug Abuse
A poll posted on the New Jersey 101.5 website asked one simple question: Do you think educating children about drug abuse is necessary? The results are surprising, and show the disconnect between parents, kids and drug prevention. 49 percent of respondents said yes, educating children about drug use teaches them to resist drugs and alcohol. 51 percent of those who took the poll said that educating children about drugs is a waste of time.
The poll was in response to listeners who were opposed to local schools that brought instructors in to educate children about drug and alcohol abuse, and how to avoid substances. Some of those against in-school prevention programs say these programs are ineffective, or that the children they target in many cases are too young.
Talking to Young Children About Drugs
Parents have a right to be concerned about what their young children are learning at school, and any program that talks about drugs should be careful about how the information is presented. Whether or not drug prevention programs are being offered at school, parents should still assume the majority of the responsibility in teaching their children to say no to drugs. Children in elementary school do not need to hear all the gritty details about drugs and their effects, but even young children should be aware that there are substances that can harm their bodies and cause addiction.
The Teen Challenge website says, “Now is the time to begin to explain what alcohol, tobacco, and drugs are, that some people use them even though they are harmful, and the consequences of using them. Discuss how anything you put in your body that is not food can be extremely harmful. How drugs interfere with the way our bodies work and can make a person very sick or even cause them to die. Explain the idea of addiction — that drug use can become a very bad habit that is hard to stop. Praise your children for taking good care of their bodies and avoiding things that might harm them.”
Prevention Among Older Children
As children approach the pre-teen and teenage years, “the talk” should get more detailed. Most middle and high schools have some sort of educational program that teaches about substance abuse. Parents should continue to talk with their children and keep open the lines of communication should an adolescent have a question or face an issue.
KidsHealth.org says, “As your kids grow older, you can begin conversations with them by asking them what they think about drugs. By asking the questions in a nonjudgmental, open-ended way, you’re more likely to get an honest response. Kids this age usually are still willing to talk openly to their parents about touchy subjects. Establishing a dialogue now helps keep the door open as kids get older and are less inclined to share their thoughts and feelings.”
Talking with our children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol is so important. Parents should take the time to make sure their children are aware of drug and alcohol use, and that they understand the dangers involved.