As parents we have been truly blessed. Really, parenting has been the most challenging, exhausting, gratifying, worrisome, and loving experience of my life. One of the many blessings of parenting is the abundance of continuous and overflowing emotions associated with the role. As our children grow, we do our best to equip them with moral standards, coping skills, and socialization to succeed in the world around them.
Through the years I have encountered so many fearful parents: parents that are scared of their child’s high risk behaviors, parents that are concerned with preventing drug abuse in youth, parents that are frustrated with their teen’s choice of friends, parents that have held their child in their arms and dreamed of all the wonderful things they will someday be, and sadly parents that have encountered the hardships associated with a youth’s choice for high risk behaviors.
I would like to share with you some of the tips that have helped other parents. This advice may help prevent high risk behaviors in your child.
Consider these ways of preventing high risk behavior:
- Praise the Positive. It is so very easy to identify what our needs are. For example, I need to be a better housekeeper. I need to clean out my bedroom closet. And I need to find time to write more. I could go on and on. It is harder to identify strengths but they are there and your child needs to hear them. Praise Little Johnny for taking the trash out or helping his sister with his homework. Praise something.
- Maintain Pro-social Activities. By pro-social activity I am referring to an enjoyable activity that your little one participates in. Some examples include: both organized and unorganized sports, clubs and organization, hobbies and interests. One of the biggest mistakes I have seen in households is punishing children and teens from healthy activity. If your child does not have that enjoyable healthy activity to anchor him or her, you may see an increase in problematic behavior rather than the decrease you were hoping for. Please parents, punish your children from television, computer, tablet usage, etc. not soccer, dance, or boy scouts.
- Model Behavior. Whether you want to be or not; you are a model of behavior for your child. In regards to drug and alcohol use, model what it looks like to consume alcohol in a responsible manner. Also consider other high risk activities. A child that sees frequent overnights with a single parent may normalize the behavior for themselves. Parents have trouble with this. I understand you are an adult and you should be able to do what you want. So, do what you want but realize that your children are watching and “Do what I say and not as I do” tactics are not proven effective.
- Make Fun at Home. Make sure that your home is an enjoyable environment. If your children enjoy being at home they are less like to venture out into high risk situations. Specifically, you should create a home culture that include enjoyable activities that the family engages in. Whether it is Movie Night or board games, make home a fun place.
- Monitor their Whereabouts. As you develop trust for your children and they grow older it becomes easy to be less aware of their whereabouts. Knowing where your child is and maintaining communication with their friends and parents of friends will help establish accountability for your young one. Accountability helps everyone, especially teens!
Consider the above five steps in reducing and preventing drug abuse and use and other high risk behavior in your youth. Together, we can help stop this.
The conservative mommy, has her master of social work with a career working with substance using adolescents, behavioral concerns in children, attachment parenting, and training of professionals. After almost a decade of counseling children and families, she is now a mommy! The conservative mommy wants to talk to you about all things mommy; from instilling values in your little one to making tough parenting decisions to setting an example in your everyday living! Join the conservative mommy daily at theconservativemommyblog.com. You can find her on Facebook and Twitter.