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What are signs of drug abuse in children and how to handle it?

The reasons why teens use tobacco, alcohol and drugs:
• To feel grown up
• To belong to a group
• Feel better and relax
• To take risk in youth
• Curiosity

What are the early signs of risk that may predict later drug abuse?

• aggressive behavior
• lack of self-control
• difficult temperament
• children’s earliest interactions occur in the family
• a lack of attachment and nurturing by parents or caregivers
• ineffective parenting
• caregiver who abuses drugs

What you can do to handle drug abuse?

1. Families can provide protection from later drug abuse by:
• a strong bond between children and parents
• parental involvement in the child’s life; and
• Clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.

2. Interactions outside the family can involve risks for both children and adolescents like:
• poor classroom behavior or social skills
• academic failure
• association with drug-abusing peers

3. Establish and maintain good communication with your children.
• Talk to your children every day.
• Share what happened to you and ask what happened to them during the day.
• Ask questions that kids can’t answer with “yes” or “no”.
• Ask your children their opinions and include them in making decisions.
• Show your children that you value their thoughts and input.
• Be ready to talk to your children as early as the fourth grade.
• They may first feel peer pressure to experiment with alcohol, drugs, or cigarettes.
• Listen to your child’s or teen’s concerns no judgmentally.
• Repeat them to make clear that you understand. Don’t preach.

4. Get involved in your children’s lives.
• Spend time doing something your children want to do every day.
• Support your children’s activities by attending special events, like recitals and games.
• Praise them for their efforts.
• Help your children manage problems by asking what is wrong when they seem upset.
• Let them know you are there to help.

5. Make clear rules and enforce them consistently.
• Discuss rules, expectations, and consequences in advance.
• If a rule is broken, be sure to enforce the consequences.
• This teaches children to take responsibility for their actions.
• Give praise when your children follow rules and meet expectations.

6. Be a positive role model.
• Demonstrate ways to solve problems.
• Have fun, and manage stress without using alcohol or drugs.
• Point out examples of irresponsible behavior.
• Remember that you set the example.
• Avoid contradictions between your words and your actions.
• Use alcohol in moderation, don’t smoke cigarettes, and never use drugs.

7. Help your children choose friends wisely.
• Help your kids feel comfortable in social situations.
• Get to know your children’s friends and their families.
• Involve your children in positive group activities.
• These activities are like sports teams, scouting troops, and after school programs.

8. Talk to your children about drugs.
• Short discussions go a long way.
• Engage your children in a conversation.
• Ask what they know, how they feel, and what they think about the issue.
• Talk to your children one-on-one and together.
• Educate yourself about alcohol, tobacco, and drug use before talking to your children.
• Set some time aside for you and your child to act out scenarios in which one person tries to pressure another to drink alcohol, smoke, or use a drug.
• Figure out two or three ways to handle each situation and talk about which works best.

Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You For Teenagers Living With a Parent Who Abuses Alcohol/Drugs Setting Boundaries® with Your Adult Children

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