Recent statistics from drug campaign group Monitoring The Future (MTF) reveal that frequent drug use among 12th graders is as high as 23%. Whilst many schools provide good drug education services, there are many possible methods to encourage your child to avoid taking drugs. This article outlines a number of methods which can be tried and modified according to the response of the child.

Emphasize Enhanced Quality of Life

It is important to outline clearly how drugs impair the quality of life of the user in the long run. A temporary ‘high’ is invariably followed by financial hardship, broken relationships and, in many cases, depression. By illustrating the ways in which drug taking affect the quality of life it is possible to alter the glamorous image that drugs have in many children’s minds. You can liken drug taking to sleep deprivation. Whereas it might feel good to stay up late one night, in the end, it feels terrible and activities which you would normally enjoy, such as video games and sports become a struggle. With this perspective, you can use your life experience as a parent to show the ways in which you have enhanced your own life experiences without the need for drug use.

Show the Consequences of Drug Use

Whereas many children have an understanding that drugs are illegal and that they are not openly condoned, many are unaware of the consequences of drug consumption. You can outline the negative consequences in a number of ways. For instance, you can illustrate how something good can be ruined if you take drugs. For instance, if your son is a basketball fan who dreams of playing in the NBA you could allow him to imagine a scenario in which he takes drugs. What would happen if he didn’t attend practice one day? How would the player’s teammates feel? Try a number of angles with your child to see which one resonates in their thinking. You can also use the example of their favorite celebrity and ask them how their success could be affected by a drug habit. Children often recognize the importance of hard work and discipline in becoming famous. By providing the counterpoint to this you can reinforce their understanding of drugs’ destructive influence.

Discipline Your Child

If the above approaches fail to bring about the response that you desire you could consider exercising discipline with your child. Where there is a strong degree of respect for parents this method can be highly effective. Demonstrate the seriousness of the topic by explaining what punishment would be used if your child was found to be taking drugs. You can also appeal to your child’s love for you by showing how drugs would affect you directly. For instance, you could tell your child, “If I found that you were taking drugs, I would cry for two entire days.” Given the heartbreak that parents of drug users can often feel, this sentence isn’t far from the truth. In this way, it is possible to combine the strict discipline of your child with an expression of love. This correctly identifies the motivation of your exhortation as selfless love and not a selfish desire to control the child.

Educate Your Child About Drugs’ Harmful Effects

Although educational campaigns provide abundant information about drugs, it is necessary to educate your children personally about the harmful impact of drugs. By following the pointers above it is possible to establish not only the moral but also the emotional and social impact of drugs and thereby develop a stronger awareness of the danger of drugs in your family members.