What we think our children need
As a parent in today’s world we worry about everything our kids do, see, touch, hear and all the stuff in between. Before we have children, we imagine what great parents we will be and all the life lessons we will teach our children. We make sure they are eating organic food and we are researching all the vaccines that the doctor wants to give them. We are doing our research on the best schools and what milestone they should be reaching for every month of their life. We prepare to call in the professionals if our children fall behind on the milestones because we want to give them everything they “need”.
Take a breath, being a parent is overwhelming and a tall order. We all want the best for our children, we want to make sure they get and have everything they need. We need to live up to the perfect family next door who appears to have it all together. The expectation that we feel is set out for us sometimes feels unachievable and makes us lose sight of problems that may be right in front of us.
Every day we turn on the news, look at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or a newspaper and see the substance abuse problems that are wreaking havoc on the world today and every day. Substance abuse specifically opioids. This has become a National Public Emergency taking the lives of about 72,000 people in 2017. This is around 200 people a day and we are headed to passing that by 10% in 2018.
What our children actually need
I remember when I was a child we had programs such as D.A.R.E. in all the schools. We learned about drugs, peer pressure, statistics and how to say no. Now the only thing I really see is the one week a year that they host Red Ribbon Week which is a great program, but the schools only focus 1 week on it. Substance abuse is not being discussed as often as it should be.
This needs to be a very raw and honest conversation with your children starting at a young age. I would ask my stepfather about drugs, different drugs and what the effects were. He was always very honest with me. He told me I did not have the emotional stability to ever try LSD (HELLO anxiety), that when you do cocaine you will continue to do it to keep the high, with crack you will always chase the first high and never achieve it again and so on.
If that was not enough to scare me (which it was), he would further the explanation giving me the uncensored details of what would happen to my internal organs. How certain drugs make your brain and spine bleed. That you can suffer from memory loss and how your whole body can shut down the first time you ever try it and I could die!
Some people don’t believe in teaching with fear such as my husband. I am on the other side where children should have a very healthy fear. Especially if the fear is based on facts. My stepfather scared me beyond the point of no return about using drugs. I also witnessed first hand what they do to people and their loved ones.
I always feared that because my kids would not be brought up around it the way I was that they would not have that healthy fear or knowledge to say No. I started talking to my daughter about drugs at a very young age. Some of it she understood and some she still asks questions about. Either way, we have opened that line of communication and that is the first step. I was nervous and didn’t really know how to start some deeper conversations, so we turned to the tv show Intervention. This helped us get started and gave her insight into what it truly looked like.
If we do not stop ignoring this problem and start addressing it within our homes the number of deaths will continue to grow every year. If you need guidance please check out the links below.