|ASK DR. STEVE...
Frisch, Psy.D. is a clinical psychologist in private practice in
Chicago, Illinois and Northfield, Illinois.
You can contact Dr. Frisch, Psy.D. at
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your
children to choose to be alcohol and other drugs
free. Learn how
to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book series.
How to Prevent Your Child From Drinking and Drugging: Develop an Action Plan to Deter Your
Child from Drinking and Drugging
Dear Dr. Steve:
For the second time in six months, a child from my daughters ninth grade class
has been hospitalized in an alcohol rehab program. I know both of these childrens
parents. These are good responsible parents who are bright, informed people. Selfishly,
Im less concerned about figuring out how it happened to those families than I am
concerned to insure that these tragedies dont repeat themselves with my three
children. What can I do to get on top of things and keep my children as far away as
possible from drugs and alcohol?
The research strongly indicates that active,
supportive involvement by parents can help prevent children from using drugs and alcohol.
Therefore you need to develop an action plan to ensure that your children avoid getting
involved with drugs and alcohol.
Monitor Drug and Alcohol Use in Your Home
Keep track of all alcohol and prescription medications in your home. Your policy about
unchaperoned parties and other gathering of your childrens friends in your home
should be clearly and firmly stated. Encourage your children to invite their friends over
to your house as much as youre comfortable having them. This will enable you to know
your childrens friends and the activities that your children are getting involved
Open the Lines of Communication with Other Parents
Get to know the parents of your childrens friends. Establish a relationship of
mutual concern and cooperation. Commit to keeping the lines of communication open. Develop
a level of comfort for sharing concerns you may have about each of yours
Know What Your
Child is Doing
Know what your child is doing and whom theyre doing it with. As you keep track of
your childrens activities, do so in the spirit of being a loving, responsible parent
rather than a paranoid, mistrusting tyrant. This will help your child to be more open with
you and allow your relationship to be less adversarial.
Rules About Drinking and Drugging
Establish clear no drinking and drugging rules. Examples of these rules are:
1.) Children will not drink alcohol until theyre 21
2.) Older siblings will not encourage underage siblings to drink or drug and will not
provide drugs or alcohol to younger siblings.
3.) Kids will not stay at teen parties where alcohol and drugs are present.
4.) Kids will not drive in a car where the driver is under the influence of drugs and
Rules are meaningless without the establishment and enactment of appropriate consequences.
Do not establish any consequence that youre unwilling to carry out. On the other
hand, the consequences should not be so severe that they create a barrier between you and
your child. The idea of a consequence is that the penalty should be enough to make your
child think twice about breaking the rule. The last pointer about consequences is that
they should be enforced consistently, not selectively.
Set a Good Example
You are your childrens most important role model. Studies indicate that children
whose parents drink are more likely to drink themselves. If you do drink, 1.) Drink
moderately, 2.) Do not communicate that drinking is a good way to handle problems, 3.) Let
your child see that you have other ways than drinking to cope with stress, 4.) Dont
glamorize the use of alcohol and other drugs to your kids, and 5.) Never drink or drive.
Teen Drinking or Drugging
Be mindful of your attitudes towards drinking and drugging and the impact that they may
have on your children. Avoid making jokes about underage drinking and drugging. Dont
in anyway condone the use of alcohol and other drugs for teenagers. There is no occasion
where it is appropriate to provide alcohol and other drugs to your child or your
Help Your Children Develop Healthy Friendships
If your childrens friends use alcohol, they are more likely to do so as well.
Encourage your children to make friends with those individuals who will have a healthy
influence on your children. Include your childrens friends in family gatherings.
Encourage your child to spend more time with those who are safest to associate with.
Discuss with your child what friendship is, what qualities make a good friend, what
qualities make a bad friend. Emphasize qualities such as trustworthiness, kindness,
respectful as the type of qualities that make a good friend.
Recover from chemical
dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose to be
alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery book
Insanity to Serenity.
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