Wednesday, May 22, 2013

How Fathers Can Teach Their Sons about Addiction


How you can help protect your kids from drug addiction, by telling them why you used.

Teaching children about addiction is tough. Back in the 1980s, we were told to “just say no” when we were offered drugs or alcohol. That looks great on paper, but in practice it doesn’t work as well as the Reagan Administration led us to believe. It’s hard for a young man to “just say no” to his closest friends when they offer him drugs or alcohol, and whether we want to admit it or not drugs and alcohol are glamorized to some extent by society. Fortunately, having a good father figure who understands the problems of addiction can go a long way to dissuade a young man from making a horrible mistake.
That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s good to explain why people try drugs for the first time.
There are plenty of things that fathers can do to teach their sons about addiction, many of which are more effective than telling them to “just say no.” The best way to prevent a young man from experimenting with drugs and alcohol is to just be honest with them. You can tell them what it’s like to use and abuse a particular substance, both the “good” parts and the consequences. Yes, there are “good” things about using drugs and alcohol; people wouldn’t use them if that wasn’t the case. That might sound counterintuitive, but it’s good to explain why people try drugs for the first time. Far too many young people are simply told that drugs are bad and that they should stay away from them; they often aren’t told why. When they see their friends enjoying themselves while on a particular drug, they might decide that what they were told before was “wrong” and that drug use isn’t so bad. This is of course a very dangerous opinion to have.
While you are being truthful about why drug use can be fun, you should also talk about the negative consequences. Tell your sons about how addiction has ruined lives in more ways than one. Tell them that drug habits can be expensive, or that they can get into serious legal trouble. Tell them that an addict’s life centers entirely on their drug of choice. Tell them how dangerous and painful withdrawal symptoms can be. Tell them about the countless people who have died from overdoses and the long process of rehab, which you can see at Above all else, be honest. Maybe you can draw from things you may have experienced or witnessed, or maybe you will need to perform some research, but you should always tell the truth. Don’t embellish things to scare your sons. Children are smarter than many people realize, and they can spot exaggerations and lies from miles away.
Talking to your sons about the dangers of addiction can be very difficult, but it is something that must be done. Addiction can ruin even the most promising lives, and it is important that a father does all he can to keep his sons informed of that fact.

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