With heroin flooding the city streets and spreading into the suburbs and even the countryside, it’s become more critical than ever to educate and protect our son’s and daughter’s from drug and heroin addiction. Families who think “it’ll never happen to us” are far too often under surprise attack and plagued by startling news that their son and/or daughter suffers from heroin addiction or worse, died a shocking death from a heroin overdose. The reality is, this could have potentially been avoided if parents and children were both ready for it. See “Procrastinating Addiction Treatment & Avoiding a Premature Meeting with the Grim Reaper”
Parents cannot make decisions for their children, but they can research and share what they learn about heroin and addiction with their children. Too many families have been left shattered and heartbroken after heroin and/or other illicit drugs deliver fatality. So with the increasing numbers of heroin users and heroin overdose related deaths spreading across the region, how do families protect their sons and daughters?
Educating Our Children About Heroin and Addiction
Everybody has an opinion about heroin and most people have heard of and have some preconceived idea or notion about addiction. The reality is however, most people don’t understand addiction and other than knowing that heroin is bad and something to avoid, most people aren’t overly aware or educated about the origins of heroin and its inherent dangers. Learn more about the dangers of heroin.
Even at very young ages, more children are experimenting with drugs for various reasons. Children are ultra-susceptible to drug use in particular because they are highly influencable and want to be accepted and liked by their peers. Moreover children from broken homes and/or victims of abuse (which includes neglect and emotional abuse) may be promised some relief and try heroin or other drugs as a means of escape. But just because emotionally distraught or insecure children may be at higher risk, even the “cool kids” and children from loving homes that appear to have it altogether are not immune to the possibility of being offered heroin and even trying them. And for children with a genetic predisposition to the disease of addiction, it only takes one use of heroin or another drug for its onset to occur.
For these reasons, parents and schools need to educate themselves about heroin and addiction and then teach their children. Education should include information about the history of heroin and what it is,, its long term effects and consequences, heroin withdrawal, addiction vs. dependence, etc.
Cultivating Healthy Relationships With Your Children
Education is great, but a child’s best chance to abstain from drug use is if they have strong and healthy relationships with their parents and peers that don’t use drugs. Loneliness and a inherent desire to fit-in is often why children get involved in things they shouldn’t. Lonely, sad, depressed and angry children often rebel for attention. If they can’t garner the attention and support of their parents or peers in a positive way they’ll settle for negative attention that’s acquired by acting out. Getting involved in drugs not only provides children with a way to act out and rebel, but to temporarily feel better about their loneliness.
Children need guidance but much like adults, they also long for connection and relationship, Disconnect can lead to a number of negative emotions that can and often do induce negative attention-seeking behaviors. This can include drug use and other criminal activity. Thus, it’s crucial that parents make time for their children, talk and spend time with them, ask about their day, encourage positive and healthy peer relationships with non-drug using children, etc.
Children and Peer Relationships
Parent/child relationships are vital early-on but peer relationships become even more important later-on, in particular, in the teen-age years – when drug use and the onset of addiction becomes increasingly common. The tendency for many parents is to hold onto their slightly older adult children for dear life which can potentially stifle and stunt the growth of healthy peer relationships. It’s not easy watching your children grow-up and watching them become more independent. However, in order for children to develop a healthy sense of self, parents need to loosen the reigns and give them the freedom to develop peer relationships. That said, parents should still closely monitor these relationships by asking their children to invite their friends over – giving them the freedom to enjoy friendships but under close supervision. Parents can then observe and discern which friendships may be potentially dangerous or even detrimental to their child’s overall sense of self-worth and well-being.
If parents suspect or conclude certain friendships aren’t healthy for their children, the worst thing to do is forbid their children to associate with them. A lot of good children have the occasional “bad” friend and still turn out just fine. But reminding your children of the values you’ve hopefully successfully instilled in them will be a vital part of ensuring your child remains in control and a leader in the friendship rather than a follower who might end up falling into potentially bad habits. Most importantly, reminding your child that you love them and trust them will give them the self-confidence they need to make good decisions, not for you the parent, but for themselves.
Equip and Empower Your Children Against Heroin, Drugs and Life
Parents have varying ideas on the purpose of having children. When asked, I’ve heard some say to “love and cherish” while others may say to “protect and spoil” But while loving and cherishing your children is a part of having children and sometimes spoiling and protecting are appropriate, the true purpose of having children is to equip and empower. Think about it. All children grow to become adults. If they are to be self sufficient and independent, they must be taught and equipped with the necessary tools, skills and strategies and empowered to make their own decisions and choices that independent, successful adults do. Loving and cherishing your children is important and as a result, they will likely love and cherish you back. But it and in itself, love doesn’t prepare them for adulthood. Protecting your child is appropriate at times, but over-protection can lead to fear, submission and lack of any real independence. Spoiling your children sounds nice and sometimes, it may be appropriate (like at Christmas time), but it will likely teach your child unrealistic expectations of others.
Give Your Child What They Need, Not What They Want
To equip and empower your children takes a lot of love and hard work. It means doing what’s best for your child’s overall, long-term well-being and not just short-term. Children should be given what they need, not what they want. Young children are often pacified (given what they want instead of what they need) so they stop crying immediately, but long-term, they will cry, kick and scream like no-other because they’ve been equipped to believe that crying and screaming will get them what they want. The best parent’s always think of the child’s long-term best interest and well-being, not what will make them happy short-term.
Children want a lot of things but they don’t often know what they need. They may want thousands of dollars of toys but what they need is to be taught the value of a dollar. Now that doesn’t mean they can’t sometimes get what they want. But even in getting what they want, the overall lesson that includes teaching them what they need should always be a part of giving the child what they want.
Equipped and Empowered Children Typically Stay Away Heroin and Drugs
Teaching a child to want what they need will equip and empower them to become independent young adults, make good decisions and be responsible. Equipped and empowered young adults will be self-confident because they’ve learned and been taught to trust their instinct and make good decisions. Equipped and empowered young adults are typically filled with hopes, dreams and good work ethics. Because life and certain circumstances are beyond anyone’s control, heroin and drugs are always a possibility and can’t ever be fully eliminated. However, someone equipped and empowered to deal with the trauma and unpredictability that life sometimes brings will often employ better, healthier strategies rather than turn to drugs and alcohol.
For more information or if you need help conquering addiction, feel free to contact us or visit our list of prescreened top drug rehab facilities and addiction treatment centers.
Written and Published By,
William – Publisher and Founder of Kill the Heroin Epidemic Nationwide™
Visit our Free Heroin Addiction & Recovery Discussion Forum
Get help now by visiting our recommended addiction treatment centers.
We are a community for recovering heroin addicts providing support and recommending the best treatments and clinics to people interested in conquering their addiction.