By the time we are educating our children about drugs or arresting them for illegal drug usage or selling, it’s too late; huge gaps of opportunities in their life have been missed. Drug education became part of the school curriculum many years ago and it has not resolved the issue. When I was in high school there were plenty of drugs and alcohol to go around. This has not changed, nor will it change until we as a society get to the root of the problem. Drugs and/or alcohol are used by someone who feels the need for connection or who wishes to numb themselves and disconnect from their life because they are unhappy at their core, nothing matters to them and they feel unworthy. The answer is to connect children to who they really are…the wonderful, perfectly whole being they are born as and to do this early and often throughout their life.
Having seen the devastation of families from the abusive use of alcohol and/or drug addiction it does not only affect the addict it affects everyone who loves the addict. It becomes a family crisis. When it comes to teenagers or young adults, addiction is seen as the addict needing to be “fixed”, when in fact the whole family needs “fixing”. The addict happens to be the one displaying externally the internal conflicts and dysfunction within a family.
Ok, I am going to admit something that very few people know about me. I am a junkie – a junkie for watching shows like “Intervention” and “Dr. Phil”, especially when Dr. Phil intervenes and works with young adults when they have addictions. Why, you ask? Having experienced many people through my life addicted to alcohol, more so than drugs, but also drugs, and having loved ones or close friends ruin their lives through addiction, it is fascinating to me if and how people who are addicted turn their lives around and stop their addictive behaviors. More important to me is why they do what they do and how to stop it before it begins.
Even with education or threats of jail, addiction issues still exist because education and threats will not solve why a person decides to take this route in the first place. Let’s face it, most children know that illegal drugs are bad for them. They are now more educated on this fact than ever before. Like smoking. The statistics have been out for a long time now – there are harmful effects to smoking and yet many people still smoke, adults and children alike. It not only continues but it evolves. Our next future generation is so creative they do not even need to buy illegal drugs or get alcohol to get high anymore. They have discovered many household products that can give the same effects which are cheaper and easier to access, and just as deadly.
Here are some sobering statistics from the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University (www.casacolumbia.org). These statistics show that:
- teens who have seen their parent(s) drunk are more than twice as likely to get drunk in a typical month, and three times likelier to use marijuana and smoke cigarettes.
- 49%, 3.8 million, full time college students binge drink and/or abuse prescription and illegal drugs.
- 25.9 percent of underage drinkers meet clinical criteria for alcohol abuse and addiction.
- in 2009, more than one-third of teens, 8.7 million, said they can get prescription drugs to get high within a day; nearly one in five teens, 4.7 million, could get them within an hour.
- half of college students binge drink and/or abuse other drugs and almost a quarter meet medical criteria for alcohol or drug dependence.
One of the most important ways to guide your child or any child that intercepts your path is to help them to tap into who they are naturally and what it is that they really want in their life starting at soon as they are born. When a child feels they have a purpose and they are truly worthwhile, they have a reason for being and living. All children are born as perfect, whole human beings. Only through our judgments and self-doubts do we forget their perfection. What do all of us parent’s say when a child is born? We just want our child to be happy. The key to that happiness is living a life that is natural to who they are – their vision, their passions, their values, their talents, their strengths, their skills and their interests are the culmination of the perfect, whole being they are born as.
Here are some ways to guide your child to their success and happiness:
- Give your child many different experiences so they can choose for themselves what they like and what they don’t like. Allow them to make constructive choices for themselves so they will know how to make constructive choices for themselves later.
- Ask them “why” questions. Why do they like that? Why don’t they like that? This helps them to tap into who they are and what they really want and what matters the most to them. Let them define their experiences and to think for themselves.
- Help them to see the endless possibilities for their life. What excites them? What energizes them? How do they envision their ideal future life?
- Be the model of success for them. Children are very discerning and intuitive and they recognize when someone is walking their talk. Your child will do as you do and not what you say.
- Help take the pressure off your child and not add to their everyday pressures. Accept them for who they are. Do not force them into sports or activities that you are emotionally more invested in than they are. Allow them to define their own success.
The good news is if a child reaches age twenty-one without smoking, abusing alcohol or using drugs they are virtually certain never to do so according to the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. If your child finds their purpose and is passionate about their life this will give them the sense of worth and direction so necessary to live a life of sustained success and happiness. Accept and nurture your child for who they are, what makes them whole, and guide them to accept themselves and to get to know themselves because only by owning and embracing who they really are will they find the gateway to health, wealth, joy and fulfillment.
Renee’ Perry is an ACC certified business coach, certified passion test facilitator, business owner and investor. Renee’ provides presentations, workshops and private coaching in the areas of identifying your passions, small business success and personal development. She is a member of the International Coach Federation.