Author Topic: how to keep kids from starting drugs  (Read 2329 times)

letsdoit

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how to keep kids from starting drugs
« on: August 24, 2018, 11:53:45 AM »
i now have 2 friends of friends who have lost teens/young adults with sudden overdoses.
this could happen to any parent. 
so scary, espec w fentanyl.  i wonder if exposing kids to people who  have fallen on hard times bc of drugs would inspire a healthy fear of drugs.  maybe coupled with teaching them how to think for themselves, be willing to go against peer pressure . 

Tass

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #1 on: August 24, 2018, 12:03:32 PM »
My (subjective) impression is that most people starting opioids do so out of desperation for stress relief, rather than as fun party drugs. I don't know if peer pressure is a common factor.

Still, talking to teenagers about the epidemic, maybe even working with them to donate or volunteer at programs to treat addiction or support the families of the addicted, sounds like a good way to engage them on several fronts. Current events, empathy for those struggling, and a good scare about what heroin/etc addiction looks like up close.

I don't have children, but I do know of several people who have struggled with opioid use. No direct connections, rather I know the families and friends that were affected by the fallout. One person is hopefully reformed, though relying on nicotine instead; one still using; and one passed away from an infection + complications due to using dirty needles.
« Last Edit: August 24, 2018, 12:06:41 PM by Tass »

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #2 on: August 24, 2018, 12:11:42 PM »
Yeah, itís scary.

I talk with my kid very openly about drugs, show him a latest news clip on another teen, engage with him about peer interactions, roleplay scenarios with him. My main emphasis is that drugs can be anything -someone suggests you put this little piece of paper in your mouth to be silly; someone hands you an open drink; someone gives you a single gummy or a candy with a happy face on it.

I donít believe parents can entirely prevent contact with drugs. Heck, now paramedics canít prevent their contact with drugs and their effects! So I just share the info, aim to instil knowledge and caution, and hope.

AMandM

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #3 on: August 24, 2018, 03:22:15 PM »
I'm dubious about the value of fear as a tool to teach kids to avoid danger. Think of all the teen DWI deaths.

A counselor at a school where my husband used to teach told the teachers in a workshop: "Kids, and people generally, do drugs because they work." What he meant was that no-one does drugs because they think, "Hey, I wanna fry my brain and risk death this morning." In the short term, drugs are *effective* at making you feel happy, or relieving/numbing your pain, or letting you avoid thinking about something unpleasant.  So our strategy for avoiding drugs has been to try to equip our kids with different (healthy, productive, safe, enjoyable) strategies for combatting boredom or pain or unhappiness.

Tass

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #4 on: August 24, 2018, 03:28:14 PM »
I'm dubious about the value of fear as a tool to teach kids to avoid danger. Think of all the teen DWI deaths.

A counselor at a school where my husband used to teach told the teachers in a workshop: "Kids, and people generally, do drugs because they work." What he meant was that no-one does drugs because they think, "Hey, I wanna fry my brain and risk death this morning." In the short term, drugs are *effective* at making you feel happy, or relieving/numbing your pain, or letting you avoid thinking about something unpleasant.  So our strategy for avoiding drugs has been to try to equip our kids with different (healthy, productive, safe, enjoyable) strategies for combatting boredom or pain or unhappiness.

Thank you for expressing everything I couldn't figure out how to say in my post.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #5 on: August 24, 2018, 08:19:21 PM »
Quote
So our strategy for avoiding drugs has been to try to equip our kids with different (healthy, productive, safe, enjoyable) strategies for combatting boredom or pain or unhappiness.

I do think these are great tools for living well in general, but Iíve known too many happy, healthy youth be harmed by drugs when faced with them at a single party, or upon peer pressure/bullying, or while looking to enhance fun, etc. Itís not just bored, pained, or unhappy kids getting caught in this mess. And then if addiction or a high-risk item is a potential, one exposure can have a big impact.

I donít think of it as fear, so much as ďa healthy respectĒ for the power/potential impact -just as with the ocean.

gaja

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2018, 01:58:17 PM »
The only thing you can do is parent as well as possible, and hope for the best. Sometimes shit just hits the fan no matter what you do. One example is the current leader of NATO; he has one sister who is a doctor and current head of the national insitute for public health. The other sister died from heart failure caused by years of heroin use. Their father (former foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg) said he often wondered why the road of life ended up being so easy for two of the kids, and so difficult for the third, when they had all been raised the same way. But he never found an answer.

On the other hand; if I see the kids heading in the wrong direction in their teens, I will definetly spend every dime of our FU money to move them into a different environment. Even if that entails moving to Svalbard and homeschooling them.

letsdoit

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2018, 02:36:21 PM »
The only thing you can do is parent as well as possible, and hope for the best. Sometimes shit just hits the fan no matter what you do. One example is the current leader of NATO; he has one sister who is a doctor and current head of the national insitute for public health. The other sister died from heart failure caused by years of heroin use. Their father (former foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg) said he often wondered why the road of life ended up being so easy for two of the kids, and so difficult for the third, when they had all been raised the same way. But he never found an answer.

On the other hand; if I see the kids heading in the wrong direction in their teens, I will definetly spend every dime of our FU money to move them into a different environment. Even if that entails moving to Svalbard and homeschooling them.


svalbard here we come.  bring your seeds!

mxt0133

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2018, 02:44:46 PM »
In my opinion most people use drugs as an escape or cry for help.  My strategy for keeping my kids away from drugs is to maintain a good relationship with them and to model healthy ways to deal with stress and anxiety.  I hope they feel that they can talk to me about their anxieties and fears so that I can help them deal with it.  Also being open to discussions about the dangers of drug use vs just sweeping it under the rug or worse if they do start being open enough to not judge them and be there for them if they need help.


Their father (former foreign minister Thorvald Stoltenberg) said he often wondered why the road of life ended up being so easy for two of the kids, and so difficult for the third, when they had all been raised the same way. But he never found an answer.

Being raised the same way is what probably caused the issues.  Every child is different and treating them the same way does not guarantee that they will learn and behave the same way as if they were machines programmed with identical code.  Even if the children we're genetically identical, the fact that the family dynamic changes when another person is introduced into the family will change how everyone in the family interacts with each other.  Further more when new children are born, then the parents will have changed themselves and have different attitudes and experiences towards parenting.  Every parent learns something, good or bad, between each child, so when parents say that kids were raised the same, it just doesn't make any sense to me.

From there each child will have completely different experiences in life, friends, and how people treat them if they are the youngest, oldest, or middle child.  The child might have had the same opportunities and but completely different experiences due to pure randomness, that shapes them every so slightly but puts them on a completely different trajectory in life.

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #9 on: August 28, 2018, 04:35:49 PM »
There's also a genetic component, so four children raised perfectly well -and with attention to their differences- may have different relationships to substances. One will be attracted to them, one won't. Of three that try them, perhaps one will find them uninteresting and two will feel "peace" for the first time in their lives. Of the two that find it wonderful, one may successfully recover and moderate or abstain and one won't. We don't control our children's eye colour, musical bent, peanut allergy, or biological response to heroin.

TVRodriguez

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2018, 12:05:01 PM »
I've told my kids that people do drugs because they work.  That heroin and other drugs can make a person feel better than they ever thought they could feel, and that is a "high."  That someone may seek to re-experience that high and may risk everything to get it, but that it will likely never be as good again, and that it's a really bad exchange--your whole life for a moment or two of feeling good.  We also strive to be available to them for any discussion at all.  Plus I've told them some other things other posters have mentioned, like how a drug may not seem like a drug, etc.

My kids are still young (7, 9, and 11), so we have to wait and see if this approach works for our kids.  Fingers crossed.

marion10

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2018, 12:35:15 PM »
1) Parent's behavior- do children see you using alcohol or drugs (even prescription) as a way to cope with stress
2) Family value system- with us, there was a religious component - that your body is a gift and should be treated with respect (eat healthy food, rest, exercise and no illegal drugs)
3) Constructive use of free time, knowing where your children are and who they are with
4) Discussion of peer pressure (goes with #2)

letsdoit

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2018, 12:45:09 PM »
1) Parent's behavior- do children see you using alcohol or drugs (even prescription) as a way to cope with stress
2) Family value system- with us, there was a religious component - that your body is a gift and should be treated with respect (eat healthy food, rest, exercise and no illegal drugs)
3) Constructive use of free time, knowing where your children are and who they are with
4) Discussion of peer pressure (goes with #2)

+1

ketchup

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2018, 01:22:37 PM »
One thing I'd recommend is to deviate from the D.A.R.E-style message of "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" and actually provide details.  When I was in school, D.A.R.E. basically put all drugs at the same level and exaggerated how bad they were.  Heroin?  Bad.  Marijuana?  Bad.  Alcohol?  Bad.  Cocaine?  Bad.  Meth?  Bad.  How bad?  Bad.  They're all bad.

Then plenty of kids would have a few drinks or smoke a little pot, going about their lives without much effect.  "Huh, maybe drugs aren't so bad after all...what about the rest of these?"

Opiates especially can make sense to specifically discuss.  They're tricky because they are often legitimately prescribed too, but need to be respected (like any drug).  They're also one where the habit can build slowly and you can end up against some nasty withdrawal.  Personally I've only taken one Vicodin (and it scared the shit out of me) post-minor-surgery, but have a family member that has been in and out of recovery, with all kinds of other issues in tow.

jezebel

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #14 on: August 29, 2018, 02:24:28 PM »
1) Parent's behavior- do children see you using alcohol or drugs (even prescription) as a way to cope with stress
2) Family value system- with us, there was a religious component - that your body is a gift and should be treated with respect (eat healthy food, rest, exercise and no illegal drugs)
3) Constructive use of free time, knowing where your children are and who they are with
4) Discussion of peer pressure (goes with #2)

Are you suggesting that parents taking prescription medication, as prescribed, in the presence of their children correlates to later drug abuse?  I'm not disputing it, but I've never heard that before and would be interested in seeing that study.

letired

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #15 on: August 29, 2018, 02:34:48 PM »
1) Parent's behavior- do children see you using alcohol or drugs (even prescription) as a way to cope with stress
2) Family value system- with us, there was a religious component - that your body is a gift and should be treated with respect (eat healthy food, rest, exercise and no illegal drugs)
3) Constructive use of free time, knowing where your children are and who they are with
4) Discussion of peer pressure (goes with #2)

Are you suggesting that parents taking prescription medication, as prescribed, in the presence of their children correlates to later drug abuse?  I'm not disputing it, but I've never heard that before and would be interested in seeing that study.

I think the key component of that sentiment was after the part you highlighted: as a way to cope with stress. OP is suggesting modeling healthy stress coping behaviors, or at least not modeling coping with stress via drugs. I also interpreted that as 'drugs not prescribed for that purpose' ie taking opioids for emotional rather than physical pain, but I'm putting words in their mouth. Taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for those conditions is probably a healthy behavior to model, especially if it comes with discussions of mental health and how to get appropriate help for those problems.

marion10

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #16 on: August 29, 2018, 02:47:57 PM »
I have no studies- I am thinking of the parent who comes home after a rough day and says I need a drink. I am older, but I well remember suburban housewives who were on Valium every afternoon. As my kids got older - they were really shocked by how much some of their friends parents drank.

jezebel

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #17 on: August 29, 2018, 02:48:23 PM »
1) Parent's behavior- do children see you using alcohol or drugs (even prescription) as a way to cope with stress
2) Family value system- with us, there was a religious component - that your body is a gift and should be treated with respect (eat healthy food, rest, exercise and no illegal drugs)
3) Constructive use of free time, knowing where your children are and who they are with
4) Discussion of peer pressure (goes with #2)

Are you suggesting that parents taking prescription medication, as prescribed, in the presence of their children correlates to later drug abuse?  I'm not disputing it, but I've never heard that before and would be interested in seeing that study.

I think the key component of that sentiment was after the part you highlighted: as a way to cope with stress. OP is suggesting modeling healthy stress coping behaviors, or at least not modeling coping with stress via drugs. I also interpreted that as 'drugs not prescribed for that purpose' ie taking opioids for emotional rather than physical pain, but I'm putting words in their mouth. Taking anti-depressants or anti-anxiety medication for those conditions is probably a healthy behavior to model, especially if it comes with discussions of mental health and how to get appropriate help for those problems.

Ok.  Anti-anxiety medication is what immediately came to my mind.  I think it's well understood that a parent's abuse of drugs or alcohol is very problematic, but that's not how I understood the post from the way it was written. 

letired

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #18 on: August 29, 2018, 02:51:35 PM »

Ok.  Anti-anxiety medication is what immediately came to my mind.  I think it's well understood that a parent's abuse of drugs or alcohol is very problematic, but that's not how I understood the post from the way it was written.

To be fair, I probably know way too many people that struggle with mental health issues, so my understanding is that stress as an issue is distinct and separate from anxiety.

moof

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #19 on: August 29, 2018, 03:09:17 PM »
Well, here is what worked on me:

At a fairly early age my mother was fully honest about her experiences during the 60's and early 70's.  She described what it was like to watch Ben Hur while on LSD, why she didn't like cocaine, etc.  Our pressure cooker did not work right because "your father ruined it trying to cook down magic mushrooms".  A while later I found out that the reason my mother left my father is that he had graduated to wanting to put in a hydroponic system in the garage, and she was worried CPS would take us away if he was caught.  Given an ultimatum he chose potential grower riches over his own two kids.

So after all that drugs lost all their "cool" appeal.  Neither my brother or I have ever taken an elicit substance.

I don't recommend becoming a druggy so you can scare your kids away, but I would strongly recommend honest and open information and honesty over "Drugs are bad, derp derp."

Cassie

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #20 on: August 29, 2018, 03:33:36 PM »
Ultimately, kids grow up and choose their own path. One of my 3 developed a problem  with meth as a adult.  From age 20-41 has never been clean longer than a year. A very good friend of mine has excellent parents and 2 of their 5 kids have wasted their lives on drugs.  It is heartbreaking but out of our control.

mxt0133

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #21 on: August 29, 2018, 03:54:55 PM »
Ultimately, kids grow up and choose their own path. One of my 3 developed a problem  with meth as a adult.  From age 20-41 has never been clean longer than a year. A very good friend of mine has excellent parents and 2 of their 5 kids have wasted their lives on drugs.  It is heartbreaking but out of our control.

I know what you say is true, I really do.  But it still scares the shit out of me and my irrational self wants to believe that if I just do all the right things then it won't happen to them.  =(

joonifloofeefloo

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #22 on: August 29, 2018, 04:01:47 PM »
I know what you say is true, I really do.  But it still scares the shit out of me and my irrational self wants to believe that if I just do all the right things then it won't happen to them.  =(

And that's an option. It just means you may go through a deeper, more complex grief if something does happen.

Chances are likely drugs won't be an issue -it's still not for most, whew. But I think coming up with a game plan that recognizes it's a very real possibility regardless of being an awesome parent is wise.

This morning I thought to add to my earlier post here: If I was aware of my child experiencing trauma, I would get him EMDR therapy ASAP. That would be part of my plan to hopefully prevent drug use.

Cassie

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #23 on: August 29, 2018, 04:05:28 PM »
MX, I think you should definitely try just as we did.  My ex and I fully expect our son to die before us.  We never dreamed it would happen to us. We have helped many times but decided it was just enabling and are supportive when he is clean.  The grief is ongoing and huge no matter what.  My kids have been some of my greatest joys and biggest heartbreaks of my life.

dougstash

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #24 on: September 03, 2018, 08:43:29 PM »
One thing I'd recommend is to deviate from the D.A.R.E-style message of "Drugs are bad, m'kay?" and actually provide details.  When I was in school, D.A.R.E. basically put all drugs at the same level and exaggerated how bad they were.  Heroin?  Bad.  Marijuana?  Bad.  Alcohol?  Bad.  Cocaine?  Bad.  Meth?  Bad.  How bad?  Bad.  They're all bad.

Then plenty of kids would have a few drinks or smoke a little pot, going about their lives without much effect.  "Huh, maybe drugs aren't so bad after all...what about the rest of these?"

This was my thought exactly.  I remember the DARE program and how they taught everything is just bad and illegal for a reason.  Some time early on in high school I did some research into various drugs as more and more of my class began to partake.  After researching I came to the conclusion it would be fine to experiment with select drugs but carefully avoiding the more dangerous ones.   For me it wasn't peer pressure, stress, trying to escape, or anything like that.  It was about curiosity after learning some things aren't as bad as we were taught they were.  Sadly several people in my class have ended up either dead or in prison (even if their parents were the best of the best) due to drugs and it has become a huge problem.
I think the best way to keep youth from starting drugs is with honest education and with drug free alternatives to occupy time.

sanderh

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #25 on: September 03, 2018, 09:01:54 PM »
I'm dubious about the value of fear as a tool to teach kids to avoid danger.
Fear and loathing did work for me - watched Trainspotting in fifth grade. Totally disgusted by the thought of doing any drugs from then on. May depend on the personality, different approaches may work for different people.

CindyBS

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2018, 08:14:27 PM »
My son has done virtually all the medical forms of heroin - oxy, fentynal, morphine, dilauded, etc.  But they were all under medical supervision for the treatment of his cancer and an excruciatingly painful condition he has as an after effect of treatment.  He's a teenager.

According to the "drugs are bad and if you do drugs your life will be over" BS peddled by places like DARE - there is nothing wrong with the massive amount of opiates my son took at all because they are "medicine", but if he had a single puff of marijuana or a sip of beer, his life would be over.  None of his dreams would come true.   Kids see through that scare monger crap real quick as they get older, then they have no real information on drugs and what to really avoid b/c they know the DARE stuff is lies.

I find the all drugs are bad but medicine is ok thinking to be so, so dangerous and part of why we have a huge opiate epidemic in this country. 

We need to stop lumping all drugs together as "bad".  Clearly something like crystal meth or heroin is nowhere in the same universe as having a beer at age 17 or smoking a joint.   DARE teaches kids that marijuana (zero recorded overdose deaths ever)  is worse than cigarettes (kills thousands every year) and all medicine is ok, included the super high potent stuff my son took.   

I think we as parents need to be honest with kids.  I've told my son his "medicine" could turn him into an addict or kill him and if he every felt the urge to have some when he is not in pain, to tell me immediately.  I tell my kids that all medicine is "drugs" and some "drugs" can be used as medicine (example - CBD oil to stop seizures).   Things that seem innocent, like Tylenol or a beer, can really hurt or kill you if you take too much.  We need to model appropriate drinking of alcohol and teach them about alcohol.  I find this idea that you send the kids out of the house without every training them about alcohol to be so reckless, you would never give them the keys to a car without teaching them to drive.  When I was in college the first weekend of school one year a freshman ended up with severe alcohol poisoning - no one had ever taught her that you can't do 15 shots in a hour.   

As parents we need to have the nuanced discussions, stop painting the broad brush and peddling black and white thinking.  Part of that starts with us as parents learning about drugs, classes of drugs, what physical dependency is versus psychological dependency, etc.

Sunnysof

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2018, 11:11:59 PM »
The stimulants like cocaine and meth scare me because there is no medical substitute treatment like there is for opiates (methadone or suboxone eg). And not very many proven other treatment options like psychotherapy. So for thrill-seekers who go the way of drugs, it can be a difficult road to recovery. I hope a healthy substitution, like mountain climbing or surfing, would be a good way to steer a thrill-seeking kid, and give them a chance to control their bodies and brains while also taking calculated risks, and developing coping skills. Myself, I find coasting down a small hill on a bike terrifying, so don't completely understand the adrenalin-junkies, but many seem to be very happy on their natural highs.

letsdoit

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #28 on: September 06, 2018, 08:39:43 AM »
The stimulants like cocaine and meth scare me because there is no medical substitute treatment like there is for opiates (methadone or suboxone eg). And not very many proven other treatment options like psychotherapy. So for thrill-seekers who go the way of drugs, it can be a difficult road to recovery. I hope a healthy substitution, like mountain climbing or surfing, would be a good way to steer a thrill-seeking kid, and give them a chance to control their bodies and brains while also taking calculated risks, and developing coping skills. Myself, I find coasting down a small hill on a bike terrifying, so don't completely understand the adrenalin-junkies, but many seem to be very happy on their natural highs.

i see meth and cocaine as diff bc the addiction is barely physical; it is psychological.  which is not to minimize it.  i.e, after 5 days of abstinence a smoker's desires are all psychological

what about impulse control.  learning how to pause a little bit.  some sort of meditation, present focused practice

Cgbg

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #29 on: September 12, 2018, 04:08:37 PM »
I donít know what does or doesnít work. I raised two kids (both currently in college) and so far they donít seem to be addicted to anything. They have scholarships that require a certain GPA and thatís a huge driver to not screw up.

Iím sure theyíve both tried alcohol. Iím betting good money that the youngest has tried pot. Iím ok with them exploring as they donít seem to have addictive tendancies. Theyíve seen us drink responsibly and, well, we live in a state where recreational marijuana is legal.

I have some friends that have similar parenting styles. Their oldest two kids are either just out of or nearly out of college. Their youngest (a high school kid) spent 3 months in a residential treatment facility for meth addiction and got out not long ago. The statistics for meth users is that 95% of them will relapse in the first week. The kid ran away on day 6. Itís scary as heck. I donít know the answer. Luck of the draw?

LaDeeDa

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #30 on: September 28, 2018, 05:45:28 AM »
I don't have any answers, but am currently reading a book called The Price of Privilege about how kids who have 'good homes' and 'good parents' in 'good neighborhoods' can hide their suffering and end up with surprisingly self-destructive behavior. Might give A good overview of things to think about.

elaine amj

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #31 on: September 28, 2018, 07:19:01 AM »
I'm with the every kind is different and you just do your best crowd.

It's positively crazy what different memories my brother and I have had of our childhood. I was deeply shocked. We're 14 months apart so how different could it be?

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Bee Roberts

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #32 on: Today at 05:03:11 AM »
As a teenager I hung out with a super bad crowd, and being very depressed/angry at the time it is a wonder I didn't try some of what was going around (you name it, I could have got it).

My mum's tack was appealing to my common sense. She was very honest about her own experiences, and threw in some experiences of friends - e.g. one had an LSD flashback while doing 70 mph on a motorway. He died.

She also pointed out that if it's a pill or a white powder it could literally be anything - horse tranquilisers, chalk, rat poison. That really put me off.

So I smoked a bit of weed, drank a bit too much alcohol, but ultimately thought it was too expensive. I'd rather go buy some music.

And being (relatively) sober around pillheads makes you see how ridiculous it is.

So I guess a lot depends on the temperament of the child, but I reckon appealing to their own better judgement is probably a good tactic!

Good luck - I'm a ways off this with my two and it terrifies me!

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #33 on: Today at 06:09:44 AM »
I did something radical with my three daughters. When they were very young I got a phone call from a friend who told me that a mutual friend was told by her 16 year old daughter on Christmas Eve, ďMom, Dad, Iím pregnant and Iím in labor!Ē

I sat my children down and told them if they didnít smoke, drink or have sex in high school, Iíd give them $500. I later upped it to $1,000. My children all got that money. I didnít do this to control, but as a high school teacher I noticed that many high school kids got stuck in high school behaviors and stuck in high school relationships that werenít healthy, even years later. It seemed that substance abuse was the glue holding these unhealthy relationships together.

My children noticed that after a while they werenít invited to things. The last day of high school for my oldest I came home to her with her head on the table. There was a blow-out beer party the night before and she wasnít invited. I handed her a stack of 1,000 $1 bills and asked her if this would help? She lifted her head and said, ďOh yeah!Ē

The next week we went to the Apple store 5 hours away. (We had converted the large bundle of cash to bigger bills.) She blew the entire amount. The guy checking her out asked about the pile of cash. She told him. He started to cry as his 16 year old sister just had a baby.

The other two went on that shopping trip. They wanted the stuff/cash more than a drink of beer in high school.

College is a different story. By then they can make adult decisions.

katscratch

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Re: how to keep kids from starting drugs
« Reply #34 on: Today at 07:15:53 AM »
I have one kiddo, so this is very much n=1, but I feel strongly that "talking about drugs" or sex, or whatever, should be a constant conversation.

Meaning, when our son was a baby and pointing at bananas in the grocery store, we talked about how different foods make your body feel different ways. We let him pick out his own groceries (hilarious exercise in recipe creation, but fascinating because he never went for the eye level crap but picked out stuff like eggplant, fish, yogurt). We talked about how sugar makes your body feel, and he could identify it made him feel like "bees buzzing in his body!" We talked about how he had to wait to drink coffee because it made us feel like our bodies were buzzing. We talked about how sugar and caffeine are "drugs" because they are substances we can ingest that make us feel "more" of a certain way than other foods. We talked about wine and how mom didn't make a good choice and had a really bad headache ;)

The conversation was never a "thing", it was just part of explaining the world like all the other things we blabbed about, with the goal of helping our kid become a critical thinker while staying true to himself. We took the same approach with bodies, sex, money, and consumerism, and politics. We answered his questions about any topic honestly, always. Both our families have mental illness and a lot of alcoholism, and we answered questions about those things as well.

At 20, our son now has regular budget meetings with his live in girlfriend (they've been together since they were 14). He has an occasional beer or glass of wine (they've just started exploring the world of local microbrews) but neither of them has gotten drunk; the sensation doesn't appeal to them. They caucused in local elections starting at age 17. They enjoy video games, and bike rides, and late night conversations about the state of the world.

For me, it's not just about making good decisions about drugs. It's about making all the daily decisions that lead to the life you want, and that influence starts the day your kids arrive in this world. How that looks is of course different for all of our families and the mix of personalities within - we were very lucky that as parents we agreed on pretty much everything, even after divorce, and we were also very lucky that our kiddo's personality was a good fit for our parenting styles. I also recognize that just one shift in his life could lead to very different choices; I know both friends and family who became addicts in their 20s.

That's to say, I don't mean any of this as a criticism of parenting (we ALL are doing our best), but as a way of maybe tweaking the point of view a tiny bit from how our culture has typically thought about the Big Topics <3
« Last Edit: Today at 03:53:59 PM by katscratch »