This is a book about choices,
about your choices for coping with substance abuse in your family
and for stopping it before it starts -- or starts getting out
of hand, if it's already started.
To most of us, the idea that
our kids might do drugs is scary enough. But when you consider
the kind of damage they could do to themselves -- or may already
have done -- it gets worse. And our fears escalate further when
we realize how little control we have over what they're exposed
to these days, and the freedom they have to make mistakes.
Compounding the confusion, we're
all constantly bombarded by the media with well-meaning (and
even off-the-wall and contradictory) advice on parenting and
tips for "coping" with our kids.
When it comes to the topic of
drugs, suggestions range all the way from
- 'Take a hard stand, and back
it up!' to
- 'Relax...and let them experiment.
They'll grow out of it.'
The questions are complex and
the answers aren't easy. What you ultimately choose as the best
direction for your family will depend on the age of your children,
your personal values, and the kind of relationship you have with
Some people argue that there's
only one way to respond to chemical use by young people. We only
wish it were that simple.
We know that parents have a number
of alternatives they should consider carefully. We hope that
in reading this booklet you'll come to your own conclusions and
make your own decisions about the best options for "drug-proofing"
Because you're the expert about
your values and your kids. And you're the one (along with the
other members of your family) who'll have to live with the consequences
of your choices. Just like they will.
In the sections that follow,
we'll talk about the interplay of parenting and preventing problems
from as many perspectives as we can squeeze in this small a space.
We'll consider some of the reasons kids do drugs and how the
dynamics that contribute to drug abuse can be turned around.
We'll describe "drug-proofing"
parenting techniques you can try in your home -- no matter how
old your kids are -- and help clarify your options if your children
are already involved with chemicals, at any level.
We'll also include perspectives
from public figures on their values and beliefs about effective
approaches to drug-proofing, and mix in some basic information
on common drugs, so you can back up your opinions and values
with real facts.
Outlining alternatives is our
part. It's also the easy part of drug-proofing the family. The
hard part is up to you.
But who told you it was supposed
to be easy?