Studies show the earlier the use of drugs and alcohol, the greater risk a teen has of developing an addiction. One reason for this is the effect drugs and alcohol have on the brain, like impairment in areas critical to motivation, memory, learning, judgment, and behavior control according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
Part of a child’s developmental process is to try things out on their own. They need to experiment and test the waters of their expanding lives. Some begin their sojourn via drugs or alcohol because they are bored. Another reason for turning to drugs or alcohol may be peer pressure, or they may be just plain curious. Still other kids experiment with drugs and alcohol because they are depressed, overly stressed and anxious. Children who are bullied and suffer from low self-esteem take drugs to escape. Those who have been sexually or physically abused take drugs or drink to escape emotional pain.
Children at risk include, those from broken homes, abusive and violent home environments, and children who live in poverty. Schools can initiate a team approach effort to help children at risk. This can involve teachers, guidance counselors and coaches. Among other things, they can help with the child’s school projects, access to extracurricular activities and learning challenges. The team effort needs to include in-school counseling by a licensed therapist.
Children know when they are cared about. They may have thick defense mechanisms, which can be hard to break through, but the effort should always be made. Under the posturing and negative behavior is a hurting child. Paying attention to that child and caring about his or her welfare can have an enormous impact and possibly ward off temptation to escape with drugs or alcohol.
Parents, guardians and school officials must set boundaries, make known and follow through with the consequences of poor choices like taking drugs and drinking alcoholically. Children make mistakes, but if they don’t receive a consequence, then they will unconsciously assume they don’t matter, which in turn could lead to drug addiction or alcoholism.
“Parents must get across the idea that “I love you always, but sometimes I do not love your behavior.”—Amy Vanderbilt
Tired of saying this is my last drink, then starting in all over the next day? Our licensed staff at Infinity Malibu understands addiction and offers proven methods for lasting recovery. Put an end to your suffering today by calling, 888-266-9048.