Early intervention is key to preventing drug and alcohol abuse later in life. If you’re a parent or mentor to a child or teen, chances are you want to help them make good decisions, and this includes living a healthy, drug-free life. Having the conversation about drug abuse early on and practicing healthy habits can go a long way in preventing future drug use and addiction. Here are a few practical tips to help you get started.
Stay involved in your child’s life.
Staying involved in your child’s life means keeping an open line of communication, knowing how they are doing in school, and being familiar with how they are spending their free time and who with. Your child should feel comfortable about coming to you when they are in trouble or need advice. In fact, having a healthy relationship with a parent can delay drinking. Conversely, an unhealthy relationship that is full of conflict or one that is very distant increases your child’s risk for drug and alcohol abuse.
Family therapy can help you learn healthy communication skills and your therapist can provide you with guidance on how to resolve any conflict you have in your relationship.
Be mindful of prescription medications in your home.
When taken as prescribed, prescription medications can be helpful. Even so, there is still a risk for prescription drug abuse. Be mindful about how you are storing prescription medications in your home. Having a locked medicine cabinet can ensure that your children can’t access them without your supervision. When your medications expire or you no longer need them, make sure to properly dispose of them. You should never share prescription medications with anyone.
Restrict access to alcohol, even under your supervision.
Even if you are at home, supplying alcohol to someone who is underage is not only illegal, it can also put them at risk for alcohol abuse later in life. There is no such thing as safely drinking underage. Be sure to inform your family members and other adults who spend time with your children about your rules regarding drug and alcohol use. Keep alcoholic drinks in a safe place in your home where you can monitor who is using them.
Lead by example.
If you are struggling with drug or alcohol abuse, it’s important to seek addiction treatment if you need it. If a child witnesses substance abuse in the home, it increases their risk of addiction later in life. Regardless of how long you’ve been struggling with addiction, recovery is possible. Seeking treatment will not only help you lead a happier and healthier lifestyle, it will set a positive example for your child.
You might find the following blogs helpful:
- Facts about alcohol abuse among teens
- 5 tips for preventing teen alcohol abuse
- Addiction help and resources