Educating Your Kids
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Find good times to talk to your children when you will not be interrupted by telephones, television or visitors. The best effect will be created if you cover this subject a little at a time, which means you will need several conversations to get all the way through this information. Make very sure that after the first couple of conversations, you come back to the topic again until you have covered all the points included here. (Of course, it is recommended that you follow an education on inhalants with further education on other drugs.)
Explain that children or adults he knows could start using inhalants. Explain why these people may start, for example:
- He (or she) may have personal problems or stresses he does not know how to handle and may see drugs as a way to escape.
- He may have been bored or wanted more excitement in his life.
- He may have felt that he would be more popular and accepted by others if he joined others in using inhalants.
- He may have difficulties or weaknesses that drugs seem to make go away. Inhalants cause a numbness to feelings or problems and makes physical pain go away. There is a euphoria that may be quite valuable to some people, despite the risks involved in drug abuse.
If drugs make these problems seem to go away, the child may see value in repeating the abuse again and again, which can kick off intense cravings that trap the person into a pattern of drug abuse.
- Explain that you want to help your children stay sober, that if they find themselves tempted or they do use inhalants, drugs or drink, they should come to you immediately for help. You must be prepared to help without criticism if they are to feel safe coming to you.
- Go over the effects of different types of inhalants and what kind of damage they cause, including physical and mental harm, along with destroying relationships and trust. Invite them to ask questions or voice observations or opinions. Be realistic and don’t exaggerate the harm. If you say one thing and they see something else in life, they may discount everything you say.
- Describe the way that peer pressure to use inhalants, drugs or drink can be very subtle, feeling like nothing more than the desire to join in the fun everyone else seems to having.
- Talk over the way that drug abuse in movies or television shows or music videos might make it look glamorous or fun. Point out that most movies featuring drug or alcohol use often omit the worst consequences. Explain the way that moral and physical decline, overdoses, arrests and other harm can occur with any type of drug or alcohol abuse.
- Let them know that drug and chemical residues are stored in the body and thus the lingering damage of drug abuse can stay with them for many years. This damage can include effects like cloudy, slow thinking, emotional shutoff, depression, difficulty learning or problem-solving, even lasting personality changes like paranoia or anxiety.
- Explain that the abuse of any inhalant, drug or alcohol can damage or destroy a person’s ability to achieve their goals, even in one night due to an accident or overdose.
- Help them envision their goals in life, pointing out that making decisions that help them achieve their goals are sort of antidotes to wanting to use drugs. If they are not sure what goals appeal to them, you may have to give them time to think this point over. Remember to come back to it. Once you know what they want to achieve, compliment and reward them for their achievements leading up to these goals. Remember, however, that your child may go through many changing goals as they grow up. The exact goal, as long as it is positive, is much less important than having a goal of one’s own choice.
- Above all, do your best to make it safe for them to talk to you about their friends using drugs or alcohol, about their own substance abuse or concerns.