Why We Can’t Keep Sheltering Them In This Digital Age

The hardest working parents take different approaches to raising their kids. They can be too strict, loving or somewhere in between. If I had the choice, I would never allow my child to get exposed to drugs or alcohol. But, in today’s digital age, we have no choice. Eventually, they can just go online and learn about it themselves. Now, we are faced with the new challenges of not sheltering our kids, but educating them before someone else does. Here are some ways to teach your kids about drugs or alcohol.

Start Very Young

At the ages of 3-8, children are very impressionable. You can make it clear how you feel about drugs or alcohol. They might not know what these concepts are, but they will be associated with “bad” or “negative” thoughts from when they grow up. Of course, I know one of my kids would love to know what is bad and run around screaming it. So, you really have to guage you child for the unique individual they are at the time.

Monitor Their Activities

As children grow up, you still have plenty of years to monitor their activity. If technology is giving them information that isn’t okay with you, then maybe it’s time to use technology to get information about them too. If you start to monitor your teen’s behavior, you can learn if there is any enabling going on, who they are and their interests. You don’t want to run the risk of undermining their trust. However, if they are not giving you any options, know what your child does can help you talk to them about their interests and how they spend their time.

Instill Belief In Your Children

Generally, children have a need of approval. If you never give them any support or comfort, they are less likely to believe in themselves. As a result, they may become introverts who are more susceptible to outside influence. Show your kids that you believe in them. They will take your responsibility and approval on their shoulders and try to make you proud. This positive reinforcement could give them the confidence to say no to drugs or alcohol in the future.

Set Hard And Fast Rules

Today, it can be hard to set rules for our kids and hold them to it. In this case, the fewer rules you have, the more important the few rules become. Thus, you can offer a grey area for most rules around the house. However, you can set really hard and fast rules when it comes to drugs and alcohol. Explain to your kids that these habits can have them charged with a drug-related crime and it is not accepted. There are some rules that cannot be broken without severe consequences.

Take Action To Get Help

Most importantly, if you are too late talking to your kids about drugs or alcohol, take action quickly. You do not want to run the risk of your innocent empathetic child becoming an addict or alcoholic. If necessary, send them to rehab or detox. Otherwise, they might end up in jail one day. As a parent, we need to communicate as best as we can, but sometimes you just have to take action and do what is best for your child.

We can no longer shelter our kids with the transparent world we live in. Rather, we can work to educate, communicate and reinforce the values we would like them to have. And, in the worse case scenario, we can’t condone their actions. We simply have to communicate with them and take action to ensure their safety. Hopefully, a proactive approach will keep our kids free of drugs and alcohol.  

Jamie Quentin is a 30-something mother of three. She lives in Boulder Colorado. She has written for online Zines – The Box, Franks’s Closet and Wednesday Review Land. When she is not writing, she spends her time hiking with her border collie Xander.