For Those Concerned
Talk to Your Child About Drugs
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Why do kids take drugs?
- Stress management: to relieve stress, keep calm, take away loneliness.
- To forget or solve problems: financial, sexual, social.
- Enjoyment, excitement and fun: to feel good, to be happy, and when bored, to get energy.
- Peer pressure: to be accepted, to be popular, to fit in, to impress friends.
- Self–imaging: taking drugs is not only a means of conveying an image to others, it is a way of conveying an image to yourself.
- Risk taking and rebellion: the potential negative consequences of taking drugs, coupled with the fact that they are illegal, can make drugs a more enticing prospect (forbidden fruit).
- Out of curiosity: to experiment.
- Body concept: to become thin, to build muscle.
- Availability: there are drugs in India schools, and in society generally, and they are often affordable to students.
- Addiction: to avoid withdrawal symptoms once dependent.
- If my child took drugs, I would know it.
- Many cheap drugs are on the market today. Young people do not need to steal or ask their parents for large amounts of money to buy them. The harmful effects of drugs gradually become visible after prolonged use. The short–term effects of most drugs are often hidden and confused with a sense of sleeplessness or irritability. Most of the time, parents are the last to know about their child’s drug problem.
- Try not to panic.
- Don’t confront your child if he or she still seems under the influence. Wait until the effects wear off.
Explain why you are worried and what your concerns are and tell them how you feel. Negotiate guidelines and let your child be part of the process, by being part of these they are more likely to stick to them.
Be firm, consistent and caring, but show that using drugs is an unacceptable practice that you disapprove.
DOs and DON’Ts
- Do support your child, but don’t enable them to carry on with unacceptable behaviour. This is vital, no matter what the circumstance.
- Don’t do it alone – understand that if you’re your child is addicted, he or she may need more help than you are able to give. Parents often make this mistake. Addiction is a disorder. You would not try to treat a medical disorder yourself.
- Remember to look after yourself and other family members – they will need support too.
- Do distinguish between the child and the drugs – you love them and not the drug or the behaviour it causes.
- Do let your child take responsibility for his or her own actions.
- Don’t blame yourself and don’t tell lies for your child to school, family and friends.
- Don’t either directly or indirectly, fund their drug habit by giving them money, paying their bills, etc.
- Don’t expect the situation to go away if you ignore it.
- Don’t believe everything you are told.
- And Do contact a professional to help you.
1. Spend quality time with your child
- To be able to influence your child, you have to interact with him or her personally.
- Listen to your child: pay attention, don’t interrupt, wait until your child has finished and then share your views.
- Respect your child’s feelings.
- Keep your child busy (sport, hobbies, music), but do not pressure them to always win.
- Your child uses you as a role model: if you abuse drugs and alcohol, they may imitate you.
- Children want structure in their lives: they behave more responsibly when parents set the limits and are fair.
- Do not belittle your child – especially in front of peers.
- Get to know who your child’s friends and their families are.
- Invite your child’s friends over to your house and get to know them.
- now where your children are and who they’re with.
- Say: “I decide – No thanks, I’m fine without drugs!”
- Leave the scene.
- Change the subject.
- Suggest an alternative activity.
- Give a reason why it’s a bad idea to use drugs.
If unfortunately your child is taking drugs, where can you take her/him for treatment and rehabilitation?
There are also a number of de–addiction centres run by NGOs. There are also a number of private doctors and clinics, which offer de–addiction services. Consult your family doctor first. She or he will be able to give you the most practical suggestion.
See our “Where to find help” section.