The return to school is rapidly approaching for many students, and for their parents, this becomes a time when you hope the lessons you’ve instilled in your children can act as a tool for intelligent decision making in the future. Students are also facing more pressure than ever before with mounting expectations that can cause even the most level-leaded and tenacious students to stumble.
Students can begin experimenting with illegal substances to fit in with the crowd, relieve stress, cope with increased pressures or for a variety of other reasons. Don’t let the first conversation your children have about drinking or drug use be with their friends. Open and honest communication facilitates a level of trust that is extremely beneficial to the parent-child relationship. At Clarity Way, many of our clients’ individualized programs offer the opportunity for family therapy sessions because we realize the importance of family support, guidance and understanding. Beginning this conversation sooner, rather than later, can have immense positive effects on the future of your children.
Besides discussing substance use with your children before a problem starts, you should also be aware of what’s going on in their lives. Although children do tend to get more private as they grow older, being aware of your child’s academic obligations, friends and activities is a responsible decision on your part, not an intrusion of their privacy.
While open and honest discussion is key, you also need to be very clear about your expectations. Holding students accountable for their actions and future helps them stay focused and it is also a way for parents to gauge their child’s level of school involvement. A drastic drop in grades could be a signal of a larger problem. Having a tangible bench marker to discuss during the conversation can help pinpoint when problems start, what is causing it and how to best work through the issue.
Lastly, the rate of prescription drug abuse is on the rise, and unfortunately, students are not a group impervious to that statistic. Talk with your children about prescription drug use and make it very clear that they are only to be taken in the prescribed dosage, and using a friend’s medication is never appropriate. Should the situation ever arise, your child will know where you stand on the subject and will be better equipped to make the right decision.
Although there will still be bumps, snags, and growing pains along the way, creating a basis for conversation and trust will make it easier to talk to your children in the future and more likely that they will come to you in the event that a problem does arise.