With drug use becoming an unavoidable hazard to children of all ages, it’s important for parents of small children to begin to figure out their game plan. The experimenting with illegal drugs is seen in younger and younger children, now as young as six years of age. Like most experimentation it comes from peers, not some sinister, lurking, older man hanging out at the edge of the school playground. The kids that come to play with your kids will bring the first samples of drugs into your home. Their parents will probably not know what they’re doing and neither will you.
Now that the inevitability of drug introduction is established as a certainty in your child’s life, the critical part of having a plan becomes crucial. As parents, it’s important that you have a solid communication line developed between you and your child. The earlier years will be a lot easier than trying to create one than in their teens and preteens, when they strive for independence from parental authority.
There are situations where you can decide in advance the actions you will take.
1) You find drugs in your kid’s bedroom.
2) Your child asks you about drugs.
3) The news refers to the subject, causing a comment by your child.
4) Staying over at some other kid’s house.
5) Your kid finds your stash, assuming you have one.
There are steps you can take now to get ready for the coming crisis. If you’re addicted to a drug currently, do whatever it takes to stop using. It will not be easy, that’s why they call it an addiction. Remember, this is not what you want your child to have to quit at some future date. It will always be easier to not start, than to quit a bad habit. This is true of almost every drug out there. Be sure to include in your thinking the legal drugs as well for they can be some of the most devastating of all. Alcoholism and complications of cigarette smoking exceed the misery from all the other drugs combined in out society.
This is a serious matter, and unlike parents of the 70s and 80’s, by middle school your kid could already have problems that will last for years. There is no time where you can reasonably be assured of freedom from drug problems. Even kids having good self-esteem and an active hobby life will not necessarily protect you. It’s not a matter of if they’ll use, it’s a matter of when they try something to fit in to their click. Powerful force, that desire to belong, none of us escape its effects completely. Even adults need someone to verify they’re worthy of friendship.
The heartbreak that could come from inaction could be a terrible price. It could cost: their self-esteem, years of addiction, prison sentences, a small fortune, your relationship with them, even their lives. Get close, talk about things of importance, answer their questions, encourage them to come to you without penalty, know their friends parents, and cling to their safety, as if their life depended on it.