Title:   Drug Proofing the Family
 Authors:   Erica Wittenberg & Jim Parker

 Publication Date:

  September 2003

 Catalog No:


..Be a Positive Role Model

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 action.

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.

Continue with Chapter 5: Red Flags
Go to Table of Contents

This is one in a series of publications on drugs, behavior, and health by Do It Now Foundation. Check us out online at www.doitnow.org.