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tips for parents

National Council on Drug Abuse Resistance Education tips

  1. Talk to your child or children about alcohol and other drugs – make sure they understand the dangers of using these substances.
  2. Get the facts about the effects of alcohol and other drugs – do you know the facts about how these substances affect the body or the situations which lead to substance use/abuse in children & youth?
  3. Utilize available resources - Visit the NCDA’s library and resource centre online ncda.org.jm, or come into our office at 2-6 Melmac Avenue, we are happy to help.
  4. Educate yourself by conducting your own online research – Information on various types of drugs/substances is available through credible online sources (universities, medical societies, journals, news agencies) and is easily accessible to everyone.
  5. Learn to listen to your child – Talking to your child is only half the job, keep lines of communication open, be ready to talk and listen when they are, and know when to listen and not talk.
  6. Help your children feel good about themselves – strong value system and clear understanding of what is right from what is wrong can give your child the courage to make right decisions. Decisions which are based on facts and sound values rather than on peer pressure. Self assured children will be less likely to lead and not be led. They will be less likely to fall prey to the whims of the ‘in crowd’.
  7. Be a good role model for your child – Your children are aware of your habits and spoken or unspoken attitudes concerning Alcohol and other drugs. They tend to follow your examples. Do not send your child to purchase alcohol or other drugs, and do not share or give samples of these substances to your child.
  8. Help you children deal with peer pressure – Help them practice ways they can say ‘no’ and feel confident about themselves and their decisions.
  9. Positive reinforcement – Do not hold back, praise and encourage your child when they have made a right decision.
  10. Set firm rules against Alcohol and Other Drug use – Have clear family rules. As far as possible have include your children in setting the rules. Tell your children that they are not allowed to drink, smoke, use other drugs or engage in activities to which you object. Be sure they understand the consequences of breaking the rules and enforce the rules consistently.
  11. Know your child – Know your child’s personality, mannerisms, behaviours, this will help you to know how to help your child/guide them in making right decisions. This will also help you to identify when something is not right/all is not well with them.
  12. Encourage healthy, creative activity – Make sure your children have structure in their daily lives. Create activities for them or encourage them to participate in sports, school programmes or hobbies they enjoy. Join your children in having fun.
  13. Talk to other parents – They are going through the same things you are. Networking with neighbourhood parents or community groups can help. Remember the ‘it takes a village…’ concept.
  14. Know your child’s friends – Get to knowyour children’s friends. If your child is going to a party or getting together with friends, make sure there is a chaperone and that there will be no alcohol or other drugs.
  15. Educate yourself about new media and the language of new media – Keep abreast of the trends, this will help you be able to relate/communicate better with your child.
  16. Be aware of what your children are doing in their free time – NCDA’s Global School based Student Health Survey (GSHS) reveals that children say only 40.4 % of parents or guardians knew what they were doing with their free time most of the time.
  17. Get to know your children’s teachers and talk to them regularly about your child. Be active in your child’s school life e.g join parent teacher associations, volunteer for school events
  18. Find out if your child’s school has a policy about Alcohol and Other Drugs and how they enforce it.
  19. Know what to do and where to go if you suspect a problem - Learn to recognize the tell tale signs of Alcohol and other drugs and get appropriate help quickly from a doctor or other professional.
  20. Get help and information from the NCDA -   online: ncda.org.jm, facebook.com/ncda.org.jm, Twitter.com/drugfreejamaica. Call or text 564 – HELP (4357) OR call 1-888-991-4244

*Some content adapted from the Office of Substance Abuse, US Department of Health

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