Really want to do all you can
to drug-proof your family? Realize that you're a role model for
your kids, particularly in the area of substance use.
Do you smoke? Do you talk about
the rough day you've had, then reach for a beer? Do you drink
till you're drunk? Do you need to pop tranquilizers to meet the
normal stresses and strains of life? Do you refuse to eat intelligently
and get the sleep your body needs -- and then rely on coffee
or junk food to get you through the day?
If you do these things consistently,
your children may just get the message that drug use or drinking
is okay with you and if not actually fun, at least necessary.
Sometimes the only question that really remains is which drug
they'll abuse and when.
We're not suggesting that the
only way to have drug-free kids is for you to give up alcohol,
coffee, or necessary medications.
What we do recommend, though,
is that you be aware of how you use and talk about chemicals.
Being a good role model means that you use psychoactive substances
in moderation, not out of imagined needs.
It means that use is always a
matter of choice, not compulsion, and only in moderation in front
of your kids.
Being a good role model may also
require learning, and teaching your children, how to reduce everyday
tensions without chemicals -- through exercise, meditation, or
plain-old quiet time -- and how to live a healthy life.
Because when we talk about family
"drug-proofing" and raising "I'm okay" kids
in a "No, you're not" world, what we're really talking
about is a whole philosophy of life. And like any philosophy,
the earlier it's started, the more impact it's likely to have.
If your kids are already teens
-- or if they're already using drugs or drinking -- making the
changes we've suggested can still be helpful. But it will take
some time for them to believe that you really do mean to make
changes, and to trust you to stick with them.
With older teens, positive effects
may not even show up until after they've left home. This could
mean that you may need to settle for paving the way for a more
constructive relationship with them in the future.
But whatever their age, our kids
see us as walking, talking examples of our ideas and values in
And we can help them grow into
resourceful, independent people with a genuine respect for others
and a real sense of responsibility for themselves, if we only
show them how.