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What to Do Before your Child Starts Experimenting with Drugs

Abstract: Do not avoid talking to your children about drugs.

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What to Do Before your Child Starts Experimenting with Drugs

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Question(s): 
Written by: Wendy Moelker, Psychologist in charge, tutor, Emergis center for mental health care, Goes, the Netherlands.
First version: 22 Jul 2008.
Latest revision: 22 Jul 2008.

What can you do before your child starts experimenting with drugs?

Answer:

Try not to avoid the subject and discuss stimulants with your child. Your child will often indicate what it wants to know or not. It also depends on your knowledge about what you can tell. When talking about stimulants it is important to 'stay close to home'. You could make a connection between your own experiences in the past and tell about what you think are advantages and disadvantages.

Furthermore, you should give the right example in dealing with alcohol, tobacco and medicines, because as a parent you play an exemplary role that can't be underestimated. Stimulate independence and confidence as much as possible. Give your child tasks regularly that fit his or her age, like taking care of the dog or do small jobs in the house. When your child fulfills the tasks don't forget to show your appreciation, because giving compliments is good for the child's confidence. A child with self-esteem, confidence and a sense of responsibility is stronger because it feels less dependent on others. However, growing up and breaking free is combined with opposition. This is normal: your child is practicing to be independent.

Teach your child how to deal with setbacks. Youngsters that have not yet experienced that life also has its difficult and unfair sides often don't know how to cope with setbacks. For them a setback can be more risky. Therefore, don't always try to protect your child against setbacks, so that he can learn from it. You can of course stay in the background to give support.

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