I attended a mandatory drugs/alcohol prevention meeting for my high school son at his Catholic High School. The speakers were administrators of the school as well as a few very well informed drug/alcohol treatment representatives. They shared their information with our group. It was no shock to us parents that the number one issue is underage drinking because it is so widely accepted by other teens. The statistics were a little startling. If a teen starts drinking at age 14 the likelihood that he/she will become addicted is 40%, age 17 is 24.4%, age 21-23 is 10.2%.
During college I taught elementary students how to be assertive in their reaction to drugs and alcohol. So, I have had no problem talking to my children through the years about drugs and alcohol. One of the strongest points that were raised in this session was that the parents need to take a united stand and talk to their children and teens about their expectations of their child’s use of drugs/alcohol. Studies have shown that the firmer the stand taken by the father figure the less likely that the child/teen will take part in using.
Another very interesting point that one of the counselors presented was this question: What gets you high? He said “I know that is an unusual question. But if there are other things that give you that euphoric feeling like drugs do then teens won’t turn to drugs; for instance kicking a goal in soccer, winning a sports game, winning some type of extracurricular game; chess, quick recall etc; any types of physical exercise, seeing a great movie, watching an excellent film.” He shocked me when he said “Going to Church gets some people high. Trying to transcend this ordinary life and getting in touch with the divine is definitely a high. We are all just trying to get out of our ordinary world once in awhile to feel good. The more avenues your child/teen has to have this feeling the less likely they will be to try drugs to fill this void.”
So, my question to you is what gets you high? After thinking about it I have a few answers: running, exercising with friends, going to church and participating fully, giving a motivational speech, leading an uplifting retreat, getting into a deep discussion with my students, listening to a great song, watching my children in sports, playing together or laughing with them, date nights with my husband, laughing with my friends, feeling God’s presence in my life, doing service for others, loving others and being loved.
Give your children/teens different ways to be high, involved and loved in their lives. Talk with them about the consequences of drugs and early drinking. Explain your expectations and give them options on what to do if they are at parties where people are drinking and out of control. Talk to your children. I don’t think it is ever too young. One of the stats they gave was that a growing number of children are starting to experiment with alcohol at age 11 and they get it from their own homes.
Just had to share what they taught me with all of you. Love your kids by teaching, talking and giving them opportunities so they never feel like they need drugs.
Copyright 2013 Lori Hadorn-Disselkamp