There are a number of steps you may take to ensure that your children do not experiment with drugs or alcohol. Building a firm foundation by upholding family values is the key to success. Children who make the decision to abstain from using drugs or alcohol frequently attribute their decision to the firm beliefs and principles with which they were brought up. Children who have strong ties to their communities and families are better equipped to resist the allure of illicit substances and to stand firm in their convictions when confronted with opposition from their peers. Communicating your expectations to your children is an excellent way to lay a moral and philosophical groundwork for their future.
Discuss the significance of admirable traits like openness, responsibility, and self-reliance in today’s world. Discuss the ways in which these virtues shape people’s lives to make them better citizens with strong character. To your children, explain that making excellent judgments can make a person feel good, whereas making terrible decisions might have the opposite effect in the long run. Have a conversation with your children about the bad elements of drugs, and give them a set of guidelines to follow in regard to drugs and alcohol that everyone in the family is required to adhere to.
Monitor Your Behavior
Evaluate your own values and virtues. If you use tobacco, alcohol, or prescription medication, consider how your own actions may shape your children’s decisions about using alcohol or other drugs. This is not to say that you are no longer allowed to consume wine with dinner or drink an occasional beer or cocktail. Rather, explain to your children what appropriate behavior is for an adult versus what is inappropriate for children. Be certain that your children understand that distinction by not allowing them to taste your wine or bring you a beer.
In addition to concentrating on the dangers of alcohol and drugs, you should make it a point to teach your children the value of honesty by modeling the behavior you expect from them. Maintain coherence in your own teachings by demonstrating to your children that you uphold this value system in your own life. If a telemarketer calls at an inconvenient time, you should not instruct your children to state that you are not at home. If you do this, you will be teaching your children that it is acceptable to tell lies, which is something you should avoid doing. You may teach your children to behave in a certain way by modeling that behavior for them and then observing how you behave.
Test Their Values
Above all, be sure that your children understand the virtues that your family values. Rather than assuming that your children understand these values because you raised them that way, test your children’s understanding by discussing hypothetical situations that question their own values. For example, you could ask them, “What would you do if the child ahead of you in the lunch line at school dropped a dollar and didn’t notice?” Make sure your children understand what the right decision is and why that decision is a good one.