One of the Best Ways to Keep Kids Off Drugs

teen thinking about life

Parents these days have their work cut out for them. Drug distribution channels crisscross the country and heroin has worked its way out of the inner cities and into the suburbs. Many states have legalized medical marijuana as well as recreational use, increasing the amount of the drug in circulation. Of course, there’s alcohol in every city and town. Can parents still keep their kids drug-free till adulthood?

Many youth state that their parents do have conversations with them about marijuana and alcohol but those parents may not be familiar with all the other drugs available to youth. They may not think their children have access to painkillers, Ecstasy or any other many dangerous synthetic drugs on the market. It’s hard for parents to stay up-to-date on every drug their children might be exposed to.

But you can do something effective even beyond educating yourself and your kids about drugs. When parents work with their children to set and achieve goals, this is one major way they can help keep their kids drug-free. Working toward these goals, they have a purpose and life becomes a more of a game.

Self-image, Self-esteem, and Accomplishment

When young people have goals and get some encouragement and help to achieve them, positive effects occur in a chain reaction. Let’s look at a few of these:

  • They are immediately focused on the future.
  • They are contemplating, planning and conversing about something that they choose for themselves.
  • They have an activity of their own choosing to work on when they are not occupied with school or chores (something way better than video games).
  • This goal will very often enhance a child’s self-image, for example, if a child wishes to learn to dance, play music or even skateboard or snowboard expertly, he (or she) has an image of himself in that role of an expert.
  • As one accomplishes this enhanced self-image, it does wonders for one’s self-esteem.

So is it enough to just sit down with a child and ask what goal they want to achieve and then be done with it? No. Many children will answer that they don’t know. Possibly at a young age, they had an idea of what they wanted to be or do, but they somehow got the idea it was not possible or not a worthwhile pursuit. It might take interacting with a child for some months and seeing what they like to do and then encouraging them to pursue that skill or activity.

child playing guitar

Suppose a child has no idea what goal he might want to achieve but he brightens up every time he’s on the soccer field. Or she has no answer to this question but she loves to sing along to Beyoncé. A parent can help the child follow that purpose that’s already being manifested. If a different interest comes along in a few months, there’s nothing lost in helping the child gain abilities in that first interest.

Gaining Ability is Part of Recovery as Well as Prevention

You might be interested to know that the successful Narconon drug rehabilitation program is based on the concept of raising abilities in a person who lost them to drug abuse.

In order to achieve a goal, a young person also must persevere, must confront life, must be responsible and so on. If this helps a person recover from addiction, it certainly stands to reason that they can also help one avoid falling into the trap of drug use and addiction.


Sue Birkenshaw

Sue has worked in the addiction field with the Narconon network for three decades. She has developed and administered drug prevention programs worldwide and worked with numerous drug rehabilitation centers over the years. Sue is also a fine artist and painter, who enjoys traveling the world which continues to provide unlimited inspiration for her work. You can follow Sue on Twitter, or connect with her on LinkedIn.