At the last second, when the drug or drink is in hand, the most we can do is hope we have taught our children well enough to say No. Growing up in homes of recovery give children more hope against touching drugs and alcohol. If children have spent years of their young lives in dysfunctional alcoholic or addicted homes, they could be affected psychologically, making them more inclined to experiment. Nicole Classen of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection recently spoke with CBC about child safety, confidence, and competence.
Leave Out The Fear
Fear should be a healthy reminder in a conversation about addiction, not an motivator. Not everyone dies from addiction. Some people live a long life chemically dependent upon drugs and/or alcohol. To a child, death is hard to conceive. Their lives are young and feel immortal. Classen suggests that instead the goal should be “…to create confidence and competence about personal safety…focusing on what they should do in uncomfortable situation and how to access help from adults.”
Reaching out to parents, older siblings, family members, friends, or loved ones shouldn’t be shame based when it comes to the potential of using drugs and alcohol. Children are often mistakenly taught to reach out when a situation becomes severe. If friends start experimenting with drugs and alcohol, but nobody gets hurts that might not seem to be a severe situation. However, is a child has been taught the drug use and recreational use of alcohol can be dangerous, the situation will immediately set off a red flag.
“Drugs and alcohol are bad” is not going to be sufficient in equipping your children against the many temptations and threats which are out there. Most young children ask a very important question after everything we try to say to them: why? Why are drugs and alcohol bad? Educating them in a healthy and informative way gives them the personal understanding and meaning that they need to make their own decisions, with your support and guidance.
Classen encourages parents to have regular conversations with their children about danger and safety. Buddy systems, keeping in touch with parents, and being aware of surroundings is helpful.
Aurora Recovery Centre knows that addiction is a family disease. Recovery can be a family effort as well. Our residential programs include family therapy weekends where everyone is invited to participate in healing. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.