Low-Key Parenting Techniques to Keep Kids Sober
Posted: December 18, 2017
With the threat of substance abuse, it can be tempting to become overly controlling to keep your kids safe; however, aside from being unfeasible and building up resentment over time, this is not a very effective long-term strategy. If your control is all that keeps your kid away from dangers, they will likely fall into them once they are outside of that control. The key is to eliminate any desire your children might have to engage in substance abuse, which requires a firm yet subtle approach.
The Causes of Substance Abuse
According to Casa Nuevo Vida, “People try drugs for many different reasons—out of curiosity; because friends are doing it; to have a good time; to improve athletic performance; or to deal with depression, anxiety or stress.” One needs to understand the primary root of substance abuse—feelings of inferiority, stress, and other harmful emotions that drugs can (temporarily) help alleviate. The best way to keep a kid sober is to make sure that they are happy, and more to the point, that they have a sense of direction and meaning (something that teenagers desperately desire, even if they are not conscious of it).
Activities to Help
Schoolwork and extracurricular activities can give kids this sense of purpose. According to CNN, replacing an addiction with a healthy obsession is one extremely effective way to keep kids sober. Take, for example, a hobby in martial arts. Aside from the fact that it takes up time that could be spent with dangerous elements, continual work in Taekwondo will also instill a sense of structure and discipline on a kid's life through enforcing repeated work and practice. All of this equals a feeling of empowerment, which directly counteracts the sort of negative emotions that can lead to addiction.
Two caveats about that point, though: merely being involved in a hobby or club will not assure that your child will be free from harmful influences. One should monitor all of your child's social interactions from a distance, after all. Also, it is critical that the activity, such as martial arts or whatever hobby the kid has, is enjoyable; the key is not to add more stress (to be "the best" or something) but to present a challenge that teaches kids to tackle internal problems as well.
Even without discussing substance abuse (though you should), involved parenting (but not helicopter parenting!) can do more good than anything else. Show an interest in your child's hobby; going with the martial arts example again, make sure to attend their Taekwondo matches whenever possible, ask them about their progress in classes, maybe even ask them to teach you some simple moves. Simple things like this do a world of good.