Most, if not all parents, view children as a huge responsibility from the time of conception and onward. Recognizing that their decisions and lifestyle choices could impact their children, most parents strive to be perfect parents. However, there is no perfect parent. We can only do our best to raise a child accordingly and learn from our mistakes along the way.
Granted, numerous external factors impact and contribute to the overall nature and nurture of a child while growing up. For instance, recent research confirms that children from single parent homes or none at all are more likely to engage in risky behaviors. Risky behaviors and activities, in this case, being engaging in substance use/ abuse or/and developing destructive behavioral habits.
A recent survey by ProjectNow confirms the above fact by stating that kids from stable homes exhibited low drug usage. Moreover, drug or alcohol abuse by a parent increases the chances of a child engaging in the same activities as well. When Children are young, they learn by observation. Hence, they tend to repeat the actions and words often uttered by their parents to others around them.
Consequently, external factors do play a role in how our children turn out and the kind of future activities they engage in. This calls for parents to take up their role responsibly and gently guide their children and teens toward the right direction. This may call for actual rules and regulations within a home, to help keep things under control.
That being said, internal factors also play a huge role in how children turn out. Children are often born with their own unique personality and traits. According to a study led by Professor Annalena Venneri, babies are born with their own unique personality traits and characteristics. According to Professor Venneri, because of their distinct personality traits, they hence develop different brains anatomically.
From their study, they highlighted four types of personalities. They include the novelty-seeking type, reward dependence type, persistence type and the harm avoidance type.
The study by Professor Venneri, also published in the journal Brain Research Bulletin, reveals an interesting fact about the reward dependence personality type. A child with the reward dependence personality type is more at risk of developing a form of dependence on drugs, alcohol or any other type of behavioral habit. This is, of course, if the child does not get the parental support, love and encouragement that they need.
Hence, learning the personality type of your child can help a parent know how to best deal with a child. Moreover, how to best raise them according to their different and unique personalities. These preventive strategies can help lower the risk of your child turning to harmful behaviors such as drugs, alcohol and so forth.
All in all, regardless of the personality type of your child, parents are responsible to raise their children accordingly. By effectively monitoring their behavior, friends and tendencies, you can control and lessen their chances of drug use. Being present as a parent is vitally important to children. Every child, regardless of their personality type, is need of constant love, support and attention from the parents.
For the purposes of this article, we shall be focusing on child drug use, and how to best deal with it. For this particular article, we shall be focusing on how mothers can best deal with children that are taking drugs. However, let us first start by taking a look at the statistics on substance abuse among children and teens.
Statistics of Drug and Alcohol Use Among Kids and Teens
Drug and alcohol use among children and teens has been increasing at an alarming rate over the last few years. In fact, it is now termed as a vital public health concern, not only in America but globally.
A survey that focused on drug and alcohol abuse was conducted in the year 2014 by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Their findings stated that at least 2.33 million young individuals, aged 12-17 years, used alcohol. 1.41 million of young American individuals, again between the ages of 12-17 years, were found to be using illicit drugs.
A survey conducted by the University of Michigan in the year 2014-2015, found a correlation between the perception of a drug, and the likelihood of using it. Drugs that are viewed to be more dangerous, such as heroin and cocaine, are less likely to be used.
This does not mean that young people do not use hard drugs such as the ones listed above. It simply means that the drugs are used less, by an even lesser majority of young people. The year 2015 revealed that that annual use of cocaine was at 2.5%, which is considerably low considering the percentage of use in the previous years.
However, a drug such as Marijuana is often viewed as harmful, hence it is used more often and by a large group of children. From their findings, one in thirty young individuals between 12-17 years of age used marijuana, not occasionally, but on a daily basis. Marijuana is still a drug and does cause harmful effects to the child using it
The National Survey on Drug Use and Health conducted a survey of more than 70,000 people as their respondents. From their survey, they found that young individuals are likely to start using or get initiated into using drugs at an early age. Most start as early as 12 years of age without the parents’ knowledge.
The above statistics reveal that a good number of American children get pulled into illicit drug use at an early age. Hence, this could mean that your child may be using. It could also mean that your child is likely to start using unless preventive strategies and measures are put in place.
Now, let us take a look at the types of drugs that children are more likely to use/ abuse at an early age.
Commonly Used/ Abused Drugs Among Children and Teens
Children are likely to use and abuse drugs that are most accessible to them. Also, as previously mentioned, children tend to use drugs that seem less harmful, such as Marijuana. So, which drugs are commonly used and abused by our children?
Please note, the below-mentioned drugs are listed in order of popularity and use. Let us take a look.
A survey conducted by the MTF in the year 2015 revealed Alcohol as the most used drug among young people. 21% of 8th graders used alcohol, while 42% and 58% of 10th and 12th graders used alcohol respectively.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the high use of alcohol among young people matches the use of alcohol among adults. According to them, over 70% of adult individuals used alcohol within the year 2014-2015.
It is widely used due to a number of factors. First of all, the drug is legal. However, alcohol use is prohibited to individuals under 18 years of age. However, since most adults store and use alcohol in their homes, children can easily access them. If your child attends numerous social events and parties, he or she is at risk of using and abusing alcohol as well.
Alcohol does have its negative effects. Hence, parents should refrain from consuming alcohol within their homes, or even storing them on the premises.
According to the MTF, the use of Marijuana has been steadily increasing over the years. This is due to the fact that most young people view the drug as harmless. Hence, most young individuals between the ages of 12-17 years use it on a daily basis.
This drug can be taken in numerous forms. For instance, it can either be added to an edible product such as cookies, or smoked. Regardless of the assumption of its harmless nature, it is highly addictive. Its addictive nature can be attributed to a chemical that is present in the drug known as delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The use of nicotine in the form of cigarettes remains to be a concern among the youth. One of the major factors that contribute to its high use among the youth is its easy accessibility. Moreover, cigarettes are a cheaper alternative to most drugs.
Drugs, especially alcohol, marijuana and nicotine is often popularized by celebrities as well. This factor only makes it worse, as children and teens take up the practice in an effort to mimic a celebrity lifestyle. The emergence of e-cigarettes hasn’t eased the situation at all, as most young people view it as a safer alternative to an actual cigarette.
Adderall can be categorized as a stimulant medication that tends to influence the concentration levels of an individual. This stimulant is often prescribed to treat a condition known as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). However, children and teens have taken to consuming them for alternative purposes. In this case, to increase levels of concentration.
Hence, young individuals that are more likely to use this type of drug are those that are highly competitive and are overachievers. For instance, those that prefer to remain at the top of their academic performance as well as those involved in sports. This is because the drug not only increases concentration levels but increases the normal functioning of the body.
This type of drug is highly accessible. The fact that children and teens view it as safe to use doesn’t help either. Adderall is highly addictive and can lead to serious consequences if used for the wrong purposes.
OxyContin is a prescription opioid that is often used by children and teenagers to get high and experience euphoria. Hence, this drug is highly addictive and can result in serious consequences. However, OxyContin isn’t the only frequently used and abused opioid among the teens and children. Other commonly used opioids include:
- Opana, etc.
These drugs are highly accessible due to their legal status. Moreover, they can easily be found in a normal home since it is a prescribed drug for pain relief. Recent research reveals that individuals that use opioids are more likely to start using heroin. Young people can easily overdose and die as well. The NIDA recorded a number of approximately 19,000 deaths in the year 2014.
Tranquilizers include substances that are either/or sedatives or depressants. Examples include Barbiturates, Sleep medications and Benzodiazepines. Young people tend to use them to speed up the normal functioning of the body. The false perception of the safety in using the above drugs has also led to its popularity. They are, however; very risky and highly addictive.
Hallucinogens often include substances such as LSD (d-lysergic acid diethylamide), DMT (dimethyltryptamine) and Peyote. They tend to cause hallucinations after use. Regardless of the false perception of their safety, they can lead to negative effects such as depression and even paranoia.
Inhalants include anything from nail polish remover and paint to gasoline. As long as the substance can be sniffed, inhaled or snorted to give the user a high. According to NIDA, inhalants are one of the first things a child or teen is likely to experiment with and use. They continue to state, that children below their teen years are more likely to try this.
Dextromethorphan (DXM) is often found in cough medicines. Young children and teens often use it for intoxication when consumed in large doses. Some teens and children even mix the medicine with alcohol for a stronger effect.
Cough medicines can be found in most homes, hence they are easily accessible. Moreover, they can be easily bought from a pharmacy since they are legal. If not used for their proper purpose, they can severely damage the Central Nervous system (CNS) of the user, and even lead to death.
From the above statistics, it is clear that our children are highly exposed to a number of dangerous drugs. Regardless of whether they are legal or illegal, illicit or prescribed, young people can still use them to get high.
Parents need to talk to their children and enlighten them about the many dangers of using drugs. Most children and teens are often misinformed and misled into thinking that drugs are safe. From what we’ve established above, they are misled to think that some drugs are harmful, while others are safe to use.
This couldn’t be any further from the truth, as drugs have tremendous effects that are negative and long-term. In fact, recent research proves that the earlier a person starts using drugs, the more likely he or she is to become addicted.
Moreover, the drugs are more likely to damage their brain and hamper its development considerably. This is because the brain of a teenager or child is still developing. The chemical interference caused by the drug substances in the brain could be permanent. In turn, the child’s mental capabilities could be compromised and future success affected.
That said, maybe you just found out that your child is taking drugs. How do you effectively deal with it without making things worse?
Few things are as painful and traumatic when a mother finds out that their child is using drugs. Most mothers tend to blame themselves or try to overcompensate by doing other things. However, the best thing to do is to avoid placing the blame on yourself as a mother.
In any case, you can still help your child before the child’s drug use escalates to an addiction. If the child is already addicted or dependent on the particular drug, you can still intervene and seek professional help.
As previously, this article shall be focusing on how mothers can deal with kids that are taking drugs. Let us take a look.
How To Deal With Children That Are Taking Drugs
A recent survey revealed drug use among children as one of the greatest fears among parents. Once this fear is actually manifested, the parents are often unable to take the news in stride. Mothers that find out that their child is taking drugs are advised to practice proper self- care.
Why? Because as the mother is trying hard to help the affected child, they tend to neglect themselves. Stress levels are likely to increase, weakening their immune system considerably. This means that they are more susceptible to developing diseases.
Moreover, stress can increase the chances of becoming depressed as well as developing memory problems. If you are physically weak and mentally exhausted, you can hardly give the affected child the love and attention he/she needs.
The bottom line is to take care of your health first so that you can adequately care for your child. This way, you can provide consistent support and love.
Strengthen The Relationship
As a mother, once you’ve found out that your child is using drugs, you shouldn’t push him or her away. Instead, you should try and strengthen the other- child relationship through constant communication.
Most, if not all experts recommend fostering and engaging in what is often termed as assertive communication. Assertive communication involves asking open-ended questions that encourage answers, and active listening. Open-ended questions are very effective when it comes to sourcing for information and encouraging answers as both of you communicate.
Set Up Rules And Regulations
It is imperative that you set up rules and regulations within your home. The rules and regulations should be listed alongside the consequences that follow for breaking them. Ensure that these rules are clearly defined and that the children are aware of them.
In this instance, the rules should clearly prohibit the use and storage of drugs within the home premises. If the rule is broken, the consequences should also be stipulated. Also, having a curfew is essential, as this will limit opportunities to engage in drug use outside the house.
Emphasize on Child’s Positive Behaviors
Mothers are encouraged to focus less on the negative behaviors of the child and emphasize on the positive. One can do this by first effectively addressing the negative behavior. Whilst discouraging the bad behavior and highlighted the consequences, you should also mention and praise their positive behaviors.
Why so? If you focus too much on the child’s negative behaviors and shortcomings, you’ll end up tearing down their confidence. Moreover, this can encourage them to take even more drugs and engaging in risky behavior.
Encourage them to join extracurricular activities or learn a new instrument. Also, have them learn how to effectively cope with stressful situations. Moreover, it is essential that you teach them methods on how to avoid drug use, and cope with peer pressure.
Establish Clear and Reasonable Boundaries
Boundaries should clearly stipulate how you treat each other as mother and child. In other words, it clearly sets boundaries within your mother-child relationship. This is important because drug users and addicts tend to test and cross boundaries a lot.
More often than not, they tend to lie, deceive and even steal to get what they want. In this case, to be able to buy their drugs and use them. The boundaries you set should also clearly define and differentiate the terms, privilege and right. Today, too many children think it’s their right to be given a lot of pocket- money. However, this is a privilege.
If the child abuses this privilege by purchasing drugs, then he or she loses that privilege. Instead, you can pay for their lunch in school or have them carry packed lunch. By limiting the amount of money you give them, you lessen their chances of funding their drug use.
In conclusion, as a mother, it is best you find out the level of drug use and abuse. If the child is addicted, it is best that you s professional intervention. Seeking treatment methods that can help your child as well.