To put it lightly, the world today is in shambles, at least as far as America’s youth are concerned. Did you know that somewhere around nine million people, from 12 years of age or older, are using illicit drugs other than marijuana? It’s only getting worse; in fact, that is merely the tip of the iceberg. Drug use is rising as we speak, and more children are being drawn in by bad influences, the likes of which we never had to deal with in the previous generation. As the problems continue to mount and more children find themselves either incarcerated or committing violent crimes on the street, we have to look backward in time to determine what went wrong, what changed, and what we can do to fix it.
It Starts at home
Many of the problems that we are facing today start with the home. After all, that is normally where tends spend the majority of their time. Something we need to look at is the amount of time parents are spending with their children. Parenting involves more than just laying down rules and making sure all of the chores are done. As a parent, one needs to be proactive in their child’s life, and this could involve very simple acts like:
- Asking about their day
- Participating in school events
- Help with homework
- Provide Structure
Take note that we said it starts at home, but it should be noted that there are many outside influences that could lead to drug use and even violence among teenagers. Peer pressure is one of the most common factors and in order to avoid this it is important to instill a sense of individuality in the child, far beyond what the average child is used to. They need to understand that they can make their own decision and avoid following the crowd. Obviously a sense of self worth is required for this as well as a real sense of self esteem. Sometimes, the hardest thing in life can be to stand alone, but they need to be made to understand that it is more important to stand alone than to be liked – especially over something as life altering as drugs and alcohol.
Other problems that can lead to drug use include depression or stress. To address both of these it will be important to address their mental needs as well as their physical needs. Depression, for example will require therapy, and it will also be important to make sure that you address the cause of the depression. Each individual life is different, and you alone know what is potentially going through your child’s mind and most importantly, what is happening in their home life.
Finally, it is important to address the concept of morality. Make sure that you children have a firm grasp on right and wrong, present them with moral situations, and make sure that you lead by example. In other words don’t use a ‘do as I say, not as I do’ parenting technique.
Lack of Structure Breeds Anarchy
Children need structure in their home, and this is not just an opinion; it is a cold hard fact. Without structure, children have no objectives—or at least no clear way to reach those objectives if there are any. They stumble, they fall, and eventually they turn to outside influences in order to feel satisfied. This could include drugs, violence, or a plethora of other unscrupulous activities that you would rather not know about.
Sometimes it is too late to implement a solution, but if you can catch the problem early on, then you may be able to help yourself alleviate the problem before it actually becomes a problem. That being said, pay attention to your household, seek advice from experienced individuals, and make sure that your home is a safe one for the development of your children.