This is the last post in a mini-series on kids and drug use. First and foremost I want you to know that I am more of a proactive person than I am a fear tactic dude. When it comes to parenting the first thing we need to remember is kids don’t come with instruction books when they are born. Besides if they did how many of us would actually read them? I remember putting a crib together for the first time. I refused to read the manual because it only confused me. But when I got to the end and I still had parts remaining I was a bit puzzled. Of course I would not have been if I had read the directions, well at least that is what a little birdy was telling me at the time!
In the recovered life we become proactive in our thinking. We begin to think clearer and less selfishly. When we decide to have children or when they are sprung upon us, we take it seriously as opposed to when we are using. When we are using we have such good intentions but the addiction takes over. So what are some of the keys to parenting that will help to keep our children from heading down the path we trudged?
1) Love, love is the key. Never miss an opportunity to tell your kid how much you love them and how proud you are of them.
2) Encouragement, be an encourager to your child. Minimize the “no’s” and find ways to encourage exploration. Obviously safety first but don’t over do it. As your kids grow get them involved in extracurricular activities like sports, drama, clubs, etc…
3) Always have a family dinner. Make dinner time family time. Families that eat together have less substance abuse challenges.
4) Be what you want. Do you want your children smoking? How do you want them talking? Are four letter words appropriate? Do you want them driving frustrated? Breaking the law? Walk the walk that you talk. Children that smoke cigarettes have a higher likelihood to drink alcohol and take drugs. Children that have parents that smoke cigarettes have a higher likelihood to smoke themselves. Do the math!
5) Go to everything your kid participates in. If they play baseball, even if you don’t enjoy baseball get your tail to their game. Be the parent that takes them to practice. Be involved.
6) Be involved in their education. Go on the class trips. Look you can make excuses or you can make a life for your kid. Take the day off of work to get to the class trip, field day, or school play.
7) Be honest with your children but always in an age appropriate way.
8) Win, have goals and dreams for your life, include your children in the goal setting process. Have a “vision board” put pictures of vacation destinations you want to go to with your kids and without. Put photos on the board of the car you want to drive the house you want to live in, the college you want to send your child to… Take your kids to the car dealer that you want to have and sit in or test drive the car. Ok, I can hear it now from the practical crew, look if a luxury car is not what you truly strive for maybe a huge college savings or retirement account is important to you, then by all means go for it. However, I will say this you better be enjoying life and not solely planning your retirement.
9) Make sure you know the parents of your children’s friends. Do not allow your kids to hang around kids that have partying parents! Be guarded, in fact if you attend a place that people drink always ask questions of your children. For instance, “why do you think Mr so and so was taking so loud when normally he is very quiet?” Why do you think Mrs. so and so used the “F” word so often when at catechism she is so Holy?” You get the picture I am sure.
10) Talk to your children. Find out what they are thinking, if you encourage them to be honest and you hear something you do not like make sure you handle it correctly and teach rather than discipline.
I can tell you this, none of us are perfect. We all make mistakes. If for some reason we fall into a slump we must do what we need to in order to switch gears. Have a winning strategy and follow it out!
Go, Go, Go…