How do you really keep your kids safe from addiction?
From the moment our children are born, keeping them safe is second nature: we hold them close as they get their first shots, teach them to look both ways before crossing the street, and help them develop healthy habits that will nurture them throughout their lives. We hear very little, though, during the critical early years about how to protect our kids from the disease of addiction, despite the fact that addiction tends to begin in childhood.
Addiction is a complex disease and there are many factors that contribute to a person’s overall level of risk. There are some risk factors for addiction that we cannot change—genetics, for example—but there are other critical ones—like delaying the age of first use and limiting access to substances—that we can impact.
This toolkit translates the science of prevention into ten evidence-based strategies parents can implement now, to build a strong foundation of health and wellness to help guide our children throughout their lives.
10 Things Parents Can Do
- Talk early and often.
- Support healthy activities.
- Set clear expectations of no use.
- Establish clear consequences.
- It’s not your job to be cool.
- Do not provide alcohol or drugs to your teens.
- Pay attention.
- Make time for your child.
- Prioritize sleep.
- Intervene early.
1. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. (2011, June). Adolescent Substance Use: America’s #1 Public Health Problem. Retrieved from https:// www.centeronaddiction.org/addiction-research/reports/adolescent-substance-use-america%E2%80%99s-1-public-health-problem.