Addiction of youth to substances like alcohol, drugs and other chemicals has become a major problem for Indian parents today. In spite of the government's heavy crackdown on certain addictive substances, there has still been a steady trickle down to the addicts. But this menace can be easily curbed if you make a small effort to speak to your child about addiction.
Let's look at what addiction is and how you can stop your child from becoming an addict.
What is Addiction?
Addiction can be either physical or psychological. Being dependent on substances like marijuana, hash, LSD, nicotine, alcohol, white ink etc is all referred to as addiction. Addicts are defined as people who are dependent on any substance for what they perceive as normal functioning.
If you want to talk to your children about addiction, it is important that you know enough about it. But the intricacies of the addiction process are probably not known to anyone but addicts and ex-addicts! And fortunately, a lot of material put out by ex-addicts helps parents to speak to their children about the ill-effects of getting addicted to anything. Most ex-addicts felt that drug abuse had its roots in their childhood and the environment at home.
Here are some interesting facts about addicts and addiction.
Most rehabilitation experts pin the problem as being more deep-rooted than just a dependency on a substance. More often than not it is a conscious decision to indulge in substance abuse. A number of smokers smoke to get away from stress; a lot of alcoholics drink for the same reason. So let's see how you can prevent your child from using an addictive substance as a crutch.
- Most addicts claim that actual addiction does not feel the way it is described
- Most addicts feel that they should have received more information from their parents
- Quite a large number of addicts would not describe themselves as 'addict'
- Most addicts first experimented with drugs in school
Talk to Your Children about Addiction
Parents should be more communicative with their children about real world issues. It makes sense for you as a parent to sit down and have a talk with your child, wherein you can give him complete and correct information about addiction and its consequences. Chances are, if you do not inform him about something, he will learn it the wrong way from his peers anyway. So go ahead and make that effort to approach a difficult topic with your child today.
Children take to cigarettes and alcohol primarily due to peer pressure, and without complete understanding of what outcome his actions could entail. It is not unnatural for a young child to desire acceptance from his peers and this leads him to try addictive substances. However, if you provide information, it could deter him from trying them out.
Do not instill fear in your child about the substances. If he overcomes his fear of trying out any addictive substance, he will go on to try it more frequently. Providing him examples of addicts and how it could have long term effects on his life is adequate to make him wary. And make sure you know his friends just as well, and make sure you inform them, as a group, about the dangers of addiction. And remember, teach, don't preach!
How to Keep Them off Drugs
Giving your child a happy home is your best bet to keep him off addictive substances. Have an open relationship with your children so that they have no issues communicating with you. Treat your child as an individual, so that he has the freedom to approach a subject with you. Trust is the best reason for your child to not depend on substances.
As long as he has family as a support system, his chances of being dependent on drugs or alcohol are minimal. Teach him to be an independent responsible member of society. Confidence can be a prime factor in motivating your child to stay off cigarettes and alcohol. Once your child realizes that he has the freedom of choice, he will make the right choice.