It is well known that drug and alcohol addiction can be a genetic trait, and that the children of addicts are genetically predisposed to addiction themselves. With that being said, not every son or daughter of a person who struggles with addiction will follow in the footsteps of their parent. Some may be able to navigate through their life without becoming an addict, while others heed the warnings of their parents and avoid substance abuse altogether. Furthermore, sometimes there are things that parents can do in order to lessen the possibility that their children will become addicts.
Delay Exposure to Drugs and Alcohol
Studies have shown that the longer a person goes without trying drugs or alcohol, the less likely they are to develop a dependence. The brains of younger people are not fully developed yet, hence making them more susceptible to addiction. Bearing this in mind, it is important that parents who have struggled with addiction maintain their own sobriety and keep addictive substances out of the home and away from their children. It is inevitable that, as children grow up, they will someday be faced with drugs and alcohol, but by keeping this from happening at a young age, parents may be able to prevent their children from giving in to peer pressure or temptation.
Keep Children Involved in Healthier Activities
When parents make an effort to keep their children involved in extracurricular activities, it leaves the kids with less free time to get themselves into trouble. These activities may include sports, music lessons, youth groups, after school jobs, or any other social activity that can fill up a child’s time so that they are not bored and looking for an unhealthy form of stimulation. When a young person feels that they have nothing better to do, they might look for an outlet and end up running with the wrong crowd and making poor choices. Being involved in safe, healthy activities can help keep this from happening.
Educate Children on the Dangers of Drug and Alcohol Abuse
One of the most valuable tools for preventing drug and alcohol abuse is to educate children on the dangers of engaging in these risky behaviors. By equipping kids with information that explains just why they should not use drugs or alcohol, it may prevent them from trying these addictive substances in the first place, or at least make them pause and think twice before they do anything risky. Some parents may even find it useful to share some of their own anecdotes and experiences so that their children can put a face to some of the scary stories of addiction. It might be more likely to scare them straight, so to speak, if they know how close to home addiction has hit.
In the end, it is not up to parents whether or not their child will develop drug dependencies. One of the most difficult things about parenthood is the realizing that ultimately, parents cannot control their children nor prevent them from making mistakes in their lives. It is the hope of many parents, though, that they can get their children on the right track and set them up for success. Perhaps by taking these steps and being involved in their kids’ lives, they can at least prevent them from making mistakes related to drugs and alcohol.