School is gearing up - do yourself a favor and remind your children to stay away from substances - all of them!
We have to find a way to convey to our youth that putting harmful chemicals into our body is not the answer to anything.
Since our children are so inundated with technology, I've been working on this with my children already. With a 5 and 2-year-old, you may think I'm crazy, but I figure, what the heck?
We discuss how cool and unique the brain is and how to protect it. They know they need to wear a helmet when doing certain things and they also know not to take things to damage it otherwise.
Here's the hard part though, they've never been tempted. They've never been told a pill can make them lose weight. They've never been told a drink can make them forget the bad stuff. They've never been told a joint will help them relax.
According to a study by the Columbia University National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 80 percent of high school students in American have witnessed drug use or possession or drunk or high students at their schools. Over 40 percent of middle school children have.
Those statistics should tell us our kids need to learn to say "no" from day one.
We probably all know people on drugs. The vast majority of us probably have someone in our family addicted to drugs. But not even an addict wants their child on drugs.
Parents and caregivers are really the last and best line of defense against drugs. If we're doing our best, we might be able to get our kids through high school safely. In other words, even a terrific parent or caregiver sometimes loses the fight, but we still must try every day.
So here it is. Here's what to look for. Here are the signs that your little one may be messing their brain up:
- Missed classes, lateness, incomplete or missing assignments, falling grades.
- Accidents, mistakes.
- Sudden, unexplained weight loss or gain.
- Neglect of school, work or family affairs.
- Discontinuation of hobbies, sports or group activities.
- Deterioration in appearance or hygiene.
- Change in communication with family or good friends.
- Secretive behavior.
- Missing money or unexplained money or new and expensive items, missing items of value.
- Health problems, change in sleep patterns, runny nose, cough, irritated shin, hangovers.
- Explosive arguments, often over small matters.
No excuses. Tell them why chemicals are bad every day. Stay close to them. Check their rooms, computers and backpacks. Let them know you do it for love and to help them maximize the chances they have in life.
Most of all, just try your best to be the parent you should be.