Parents: Three Ways To Raise A Drug-Free Child

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Sag Harbor teens out party the nation’s teens when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Parents can, and should, be part of the solution to this pressing problem in our community.

SAFE in Sag Harbor was established to combat the increasing incidence of risky behavior among Sag Harbor teenagers, and increase awareness of the issue within the larger community.

In its “Preventing Drug Use Among Children and Adolescents, A Research-Based Guide for Parents, Educators and Community Leaders,” The National Institute on Drug Abuse” notes that an imbalance between risk and protective factors in the home can influence whether a child is susceptible to drug abuse. Risk factors within the home include a chaotic home environment, lack of a significant relationship with a caring adult, and a caregiver who abuses substances, suffers from mental illness or engages in criminal behavior. Factors outside of the home, such as availability of alcohol and drugs, and social acceptability of risky behavior also impact a child’s susceptibility to using illegal substances. Protective factors include a strong family bond, parent involvement, and clear limits and consistent enforcement of discipline.

Similarly, the National Crime Prevention Council, in “How Parents Can Prevent Drug Abuse” lists six tips for parents, all of which involve parental involvement, clear communication, consistent rules, positive role modeling, and talking about the issue.

Strong parenting is key in helping our kids avoid drug and alcohol use. Here are three steps toward helping your child to say no to drugs:

·      Talk to Your Child. Drugs is not a topic to avoid. Any discomfort will soon be replaced with relief that you’ve opened the conversation.

·     Get Involved. Spend time with your child every day doing what he/she wants to do, not what you want

·     Live the Life You Want Your Child to Live. Set a good example and, with luck, your child will follow it.

Parenting is hard. Being a parent to a child on drugs is harder. Talk to your child today.

Kym Laube is the program director of SAFE in Sag Harbor, a community-based organization dedicated to creating a substance-abuse-free environment in Sag Harbor,