Calling All Parents of Infants, Toddlers, School Age Children & Adolescents: NOW Is The Time To Take Action - YOU are the PARENT AND NOT THE FRIEND
We potty train our kids. We teach them to ride bikes, to tie their shoe laces, etc. Are we teaching them to socialize and interact with others? Are we teaching them about the DANGERS of underage drinking and drug abuse? Do we think if we have one conversation with our child, a.k.a. "THE TALK," we are home free? Setting boundaries and monitoring your child's behavior from a young age is one of the most important skills a parent can develop. Why wait until YOUR CHILD develops some sort of behavioral/drug problem to take action?
I ask myself these questions whenever (usually) the mother calls our offices seeking some type of intervention program for her child or teen with a drug problem. Frequently the parent has heard of Informed Families, but never thought what we do was actually relevant to her. She likely thought either:
1. "Why bother ... my child is a good kid" or
2. "My child is a toddler ... this is irrelevant to me."
However, the RESEARCH IS CLEAR -- parental involvement in a child school/community, as well as setting boundaries and monitoring behavior are the keys to raising safe, healthy and drug-free children.
Even parents of INFANTS and TODDLERS can begin to set boundaries - when your kids reach for a huge handful of Valentine's Day candy that will not only spoil their appetite but overload their system with excess sugar, think twice about just passively letting it happen. Remember that you are the parent and he/she is the child. The unhealthy behaviors you may overlook when your child is younger have the potential to develop into larger problems as he/she grows older. Also, think about how your own bad habits are influencing your child, who especially during the pre-school years tends to imitate your actions as a way of learning.
As a proud grandmother of seven, I can say from personal experience that it can be DIFFICULT TO SAY "NO" to a child or a grandchild, even when you know it's the right thing to do. Remember there are good days and bad days--and some days you will just blow it--and that's ok. Remember that the work has to begin when your child or grandchild is very young. Ultimately, we have to think beyond immediate gratification and focus on achieving the long term goal - helping kids grow up safe, healthy and drug-free.