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Stop Medicine Abuse
I was exceptionally grateful for the opportunity to participate as a panelist in the Mom it Forward #gno (Girls Night Out) Twitter party with Stop Medicine Abuse. The tips for talking with your children about drugs, especially common over the counter drugs that you probably have in your medicine cabinet right now, were invaluable.
My overall takeaway from the one-hour Twitter party was this; I’m not doing enough. I’m not sure we, as parents, really ever are 100% prepared for the risks and dangers that life presents our children. The challenges are out there, the potential for one slip to result in a cascading spiral of drug abuse. From the wrong friends to the wrong circumstance or just silly, stupid choices, parents need to be more aware!
So, while I think I’m talking enough, listening enough, modeling well as an extremely anti-drug person, I wonder what else I could be doing. And, the first thing that I know that I can do isn’t just for my children, its for yours too. Education. I truly believe that knowledge, understanding, awareness are the key factors in fighting the family war on drugs.
I have a no-tolerance policy for my children, and even for my friends and family. If you do it you don’t do it here. If you are my child and I catch you, there will be hell to pay. But, its my job to make sure my kids know why. Why I care, why I hate drugs, why my skin crawls and my stomach reels at the very thought of them ever being in a position where they might think trying something is okay. It’s not.
It’s also my job to make sure they know what “hell to pay” really means. I’m not going to kick their ass or lecture them for hours… but they will feel my wrath in the form of priviledge loss, an inability to trust them for some extended length of time, new boundaries and limitations… you get the idea. And to my dear children, don’t for a second think that I’m too embarassed, or poor, or that I’ll miss you so much that I can’t handle sending you away to rehab if your trying it leads to using it. Yup! I care that much.
There isn’t really anything cool about kids who have failing grades, no interest in goals, no ambition, no foresight into a bright future. Today is today and tomorrow is tomorrow. But, what you do today sets the gravel in place for the path you will walk tomorrow. Want to walk the yellow brick road or through quick sand? The choice is yours!
I really believe that self-esteem is a big player in teen drug use. Wanting to fit in, feel “cool” and make new friends. Falling into the wrong crowd. So, in my list of parental duties I include, underline and highlight- “Build self esteem” right next to feed, clothe and shelter them. My parenting policy is pretty easy going- pick your battles, keep an open door, talk things out, listen… Sometimes I slip-my mouth opens and a spew of hot tempered reaction comes out rather than the calm, collected thoughts of a parent who really does want her children to tell her anything. More often, I’m known to use sarcasm and humor in a way that hides the hot temper.
The lines of communication have stayed quite open. In fact, I often tell my 14 year old that he is occasionally too open with me. He, much like myself, says things like they are and is brutally honest. I’ve contemplated bleaching my ear drums on one or another occassions. But, if ever he feels like he just can’t talk to me about something face to face, he’ll text it. I won’t chastisize this use of technology in lieu of personal communication- if that’s his safe place then I will meet him there.
I keep the rules pretty simple, pretty straight forward. When I say I pick my battles, I mean it. I try not to harp on petty, overall harmless stuff. I’ll voice an opinion and let it go. But, ignoring the golden rules of the house will get much more voicing, limitations and probably will result in the loss of time with friends, electronics, etc. The golden rules- school comes first, don’t do drugs, don’t make babies, tell me where and when you are going somewhere, lift the toilet seat when you pee and for god sakes, don’t leave the milk out. Okay, so the last two aren’t really golden rules but if I sit in your urine you’ll know it!
Stop Medicine Abuse Tips
I suppose I went off on a tangent up there. So, what you probably really want to know is how to stop medicine abuse. I highly recommend that you visit the site, Stop Medicine Abuse for a ton of great resources. In the meantime, here are some of the highlights from myself and other parents involved in the #gno #NotMyTeen twitter party last night.
Q1: WHAT FAMILY MEMORIES ARE YOU EXCITED TO MAKE THIS HOLIDAY SEASON?
There were so many great answers to this question. I’d love for you to answer in the comments!!
Q2: OCT IS NAT. MEDICINE ABUSE AWARENESS MONTH – HOW DO U BRING UP THE “DRUG TALK” W/ UR KIDS? TIPS?
@VanillaSyrup By being open and honest! I am straightforward with my kids and it has seemed to help #notmyteen #gno
@mellanhead I just start talking, bring up local news about it #gno #NotMyTeen
Q3: HOW CAN PARENTS TEACH THEIR KIDS PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY? TIPS/TRICKS?
@MomItForward Teaching responsibility is so much work but you absolutely have to be consistent and not give up! ^lindsey
@angelgeniusjail lead by example, give them responsibilities, and keep them busy with positive activities
Q4: WHAT DO YOU DO TO LET YOUR KIDS KNOW THAT THEY CAN TALK TO YOU ABOUT ANYTHING? TIPS/TRICKS?
@angelgeniusjail Keep communication open. Be receptive, good listener, try to understand their view so you can work with it
@sweetmatcha I get down to their level so we can communicate openly with each other
Q5: BEST TIPS/TRICKS TO EMPOWER YOUR KIDS TO RESIST NEGATIVE PEER PRESSURE LIKE DRUG ABUSE?
@bbpinktaz Taught my son ok to be different, stay strong, avoid the peer pressure, come talk, I’ll guide you through.
@ericabuteau Teach them to be individuals, good role models, lead by example and talk openly often.
Q6: HOW DOES RASING KIDS W/ CHARACTER EMPOWER THEM TO MAKE GOOD LIFE DECISIONS?
@VanillaSyrup It builds the foundation to make them a better person and make wise decisions in their lives!
@FreeSampleMomma It’s all about the foundation you provide them by example and life lessons, they will go far with that
Q7: WHAT CAN PARENTS DO TO PREVENT TEEN MEDICINE ABUSE? TIPS?
@FreeSampleMomma Keep medicines locked up, educate them on the dangers, and check rooms
@bbpinktaz Don’t leave medicine at their reach, plus if you take meds, try not to make a huge deal about it
Q8: WHAT CAN PARENTS DO WHEN THEY NOTICE THEIR KIDS HANGOUT OUT W/ THE WRONG CROWD? TIPS?
@MomItForward My mom ALWAYS said, “Correct choices bring personal freedom” and we lived by that. ^lindsey
@leyn16 Stop that from the very beginning. Getting them involved in other activities. Keep them busy in good things
Q9: HOW DO YOU KEEP THE DOORS OF COMMUNICATION OPEN BETWEEN YOU & YOUR KIDS? TIPS/TRICKS?
@BeyondTheCrib Stay involved in their school lives and social lives by initiating conversations and asking questions.
@ESeattleMama we share a pos. and a neg. of the day at dinner. Hope this will cont down the road to get to know better
Q10: HOW DO YOU KEEP TRACK OF THE VERBAGE YOUR KIDS USE & WHAT IT “REALLY” MEANS? TIPS/TRICKS?
@StopMedAbuse Learn the slang that kids may be using when talking to their peers: http://bit.ly/XwpdjK @MomItForward #gno #NotMyTeen@TechSavvyMama You ask them and have them teach you. They already know they’re smarter than you. Embrace it & make them the teachers. Google or ask other parents. Use your village online and IRL!
Find the full conversation on Twitter HERE.
October is National Medicine Abuse Awareness Month. Is teen medicine abuse on YOUR radar? Here are 3 things you can do to help prevent medicine abuse:
What other advice would you add?