Parents, if you had a crystal ball and could see your child’s future, what would you want to see? You would want to see your child, healthy, happy, productive, and fulfilled, wouldn’t you?
Everyday we work hard to be a good parent, doing many things to make that future come true for your child. However, sometimes it is hard to know if all the many things that you do really make a difference.
It has been both said and researched that raising a healthy, drug free child is a parenting operation. Directing your children away from alcohol and drug use will not only help give them a healthy childhood, it will also set them up for a healthy, productive, fulfilled and happy life as adults.
Nearly two decades of research has demonstrated that a child who gets through age 21 without smoking, abusing alcohol, or using illegal drugs is virtually certain never to do so.
Every American child will most likely be offered alcohol, cigarettes, prescription medication, marijuana, other illegal drugs or any combination of these substances before they graduate from high school. It is our job as parents to teach and develop in our children the will, self-confidence and skills to make healthy choices.
As a parent, you are the most influential person in your child’s life and the biggest source of information that your child has. You are the messenger that your children are likeliest to listen to. The message to give your children about smoking and illegal drugs is straightforward “No. Never.” The message to give your children about alcohol is: “No. Never for people under 21 or for some others like alcoholics and those with genetic predisposition to alcoholism. But, yes, in moderation, for other adults who wish to drink.” When we speak to our children about alcohol and drugs it is important that we feel comfortable and know and understand what we are talking about.
As a parent we have the power to empower our children to make positive, healthy choices. The key to this power is being engaged in our child’s lives. Parental engagement is simply hands-on parenting.