Psychologists Offer Practical Parenting Tips to Safeguard Kids from Harms of Substance Use
Focus of free Live Webinar presented by psychologists at Palo Alto University January 18, 2023, noon-2 pm (PST) Substance Use: Practical Parenting and Keeping Kids Safe Register here. For teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19, the opioid death rate increased more than fourfold from 2018 to 2021, according to the California Department of Public Health. In 2021, California experienced 6,843 opioid-related overdose deaths, of which 224 were fentanyl-related overdose deaths occurred among teens, ages 15–19 years old. Youth drug abuse is a national public health concern with at least 1-in-8 teenagers abusing an illicit substance in the last year according to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics. Parents and guardians play an essential role in the health and safety of their children’s lives. Today’s extremely hazardous substance landscape presents new challenges to keep kids safe, especially as they become more independent in high school, college, and the working world. An expert panel of psychologists and researchers from Palo Alto University offers the following tips on how to talk about prevention and harm reduction with kids. The tips are part of a free webinar, Substance Use: Practical Parenting and Keeping Kids Safe on January 18, 2023. Register here.
Tips for Practical Parenting and Keeping Kids Safe from Substance Use
- Build a supportive family environment through open conversations, family meals and displays of warmth and affection.
- Reduce family conflict and improve relationships with children through shared activities such as sports, movies, crafts, and holiday rituals.
- Consider family therapy with a professional counselor or psychologist if conflict in the home is ongoing.
- Become educated about the new ways kids use substances (e.g., “stealth” vapes and edibles).
- Schedule one-on-one time with each child at least once a month to check in, connect and problem solve.
- Talk to children honestly about any history of alcohol problems and/or addiction in the family tree.
- Explain the brain science that delaying alcohol and substance use until adulthood could greatly reduce the possibility of developing substance use problems and addiction.
- Be a savvy parent and “think like your teen.” Use the internet and media to identify new ways kids are using or obtaining substances so you can be proactive.
- Be mindful that your actions influence the relationship your child has with substances. Children develop expectancies about substance effects at an early age, often from watching their parents and/or other significant adults in their lives.