Parenting decisions are only as sound as the facts on which they are based. Unfortunately, parents often make decisions based on fantasy rather than facts.
Too many parents get lulled into a false sense of security because their kids play sports, make good grades, and have “nice” friends. That’s a fantasy and is not what happens in the real world.
Speaking factually, about half of all school children at senior schools have tried illegal drugs. These figures are much higher if you include the students who have used alcohol and tobacco.
From the time children are very young, they are taught to “just say no” to drugs. I’m convinced that the peer pressure usually gets worse when they do because teens don’t know what to say next.
An emerging trend offers parents direction and hope. Drug testing kits now exist that can be administered at home and provide instant results for a fraction of the cost of a lab, without sacrificing accuracy or privacy. Parents who follow through with such an approach give their teens a socially acceptable excuse. The words “My parents test me” stop pushy peers in their tracks. Additionally, teens’ poor behavior and choices can be made to change when teens know it’s a certainty rather than a remote possibility that their drug use will be discovered.
Question: Should parents talk to their kids more often about the facts and possible problems ahead?
Answer: “Wise is the man who fixes his roof before it rains.” I suggest that parents would be well served to sit down with their children and start talking about the dangers of drugs as early as when their children are in middle school.
While a conversation about the dangers of drug use is an important first step, it is simply not enough to protect your child without a plan to follow through.
Trust should be earned rather than bestowed and an approach eliminates potential misunderstandings by creating a contract that spells out specific rewards and consequences tied to home drug test results.
It’s no wonder so many teens think their parents won’t find out. They’re right—until it’s too late.