Though recent studies show a significant decrease in illegal drug use among American youth, usage levels still remain high. In 2004 alone, 21.5 percent of eighth-graders, 39.8 percent of 10th-graders and 51.1 percent of 12th-graders reported using an illicit drug sometime during their lifetimes, according to the Monitoring the Future Survey conducted by the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research.
Even if your child’s school offers a program to teach students about the dangers of drugs, parents are still the first line of defense. The following tips from Oikos Global, which develops games that teach kids personal development and emotional skills, will help you address this delicate issue with your child.
* Keep tabs on your child. Know where your child is, and why he or she is there, at all times. Also, enroll your child in after-school activities. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, teens with unsupervised time are three times more likely to use drugs.
* Find creative ways to have “that serious talk.” Oikos Game 3: The Key to Success, for example, is an entertaining and challenging board game that provides a venue for families to talk about sensitive issues like drug use. Players learn how to set goals, solve problems and improve communication skills.
* Get to know acquaintances. Knowing your child’s friends and their families will help you understand the influences in his or her life and will show that you are a parent who cares. Express your concern if a friend seems to be a bad influence.