This blog post is no April fool. Teaching young children to avoid drugs is not a laughing matter in this day and age. The example parents set for children plays an important role in children’s behavior now and as children grow.
Reinforcing positive role models in a child’s life helps build a child’s sense of self-esteem. If a child is confident in who he/she is, then the child will be more likely to make better choices and less likely to bend to peer pressure, and even to bullying, when the question arises,”Hey, you want to try some of this?”
A parent setting a positive example is extremely important. If a parent or family member drinks to excess, smokes heavily or even takes “recreational” drugs in front of their children, they can expect their children eventually to try to imitate their behavior. Parents should not tempt their young children by giving them “a little beer” or other alcoholic beverages. Something that seems to taste good to a child or makes them feel good briefly may not be good for their growing body or their internal organs.
Teaching children about drugs and what they can put in their mouths and what they should not put in their mouths is important. A parent can say, for example, “These peaches are good for you, they contain vitamins and help you have good skin.” Or “The calcium in milk helps build strong bones and strong bones help us move around!” Conversely, a parent can say, “Pills are medicine for a purpose. We don’t take medicine we don’t need. A medicine can help one person, but may hurt another.” or “We must be very careful not to take anything we don’t know about or that our parent doesn’t give us when we are sick. We don’t help ourselves to medicine.” Or “We don’t take medicine or pills that belong to other people.”
In addition to safely storing the family’s medicines in a lockable medicine chest, a parent can caution their child, “If you find a pill anywhere [at home] you bring it to me.” Or “If you find a pill anywhere at school, take it to your teacher right away!” A young child in one Colorado elementary school found a pill at the bottom of his milk carton, and was extremely fortunate not to have swallowed the pill which another child put in the carton “as a joke”–without even knowing what the result might have been if the child had swallowed the pill. Both sets of parents of the children involved were startled when they were informed by the school’s principal of the incident. The result of this experience could have been so much worse.
As children grow and head into the pre-teens and teens, parents can reinforce their discussions about drugs by educating kids about the effects of drugs, what drugs look like and do to a person, especially what drugs to avoid at all cost. In the past year, in the United States there has been an upsurge in popularity of certain “synthetic drugs”. Childsafetyblog.org wants to pat the now-thirteen states which have made buying and selling these synthetic drugs, such as “bath salts,” illegal as the results of kids taking these drugs have been devastating to the individuals, their families, and their communities. And we urge those states that have not yet banned the purchase and sale of synthetic drugs to do so as soon as possible.