Tuesday, December 25, 2007

When You Love A Child……Get Involved (4)

By the time they are in kindergarten, most children have seen adults smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol, whether on television or in real life, this is why it is never too early to talk with them about the dangers of drugs. Parents have an incredible influence on their child's decision whether or not to use drugs.

Drug use among our teens and young adults, is non-discriminatory. It cuts across all ethnic, geographic and socioeconomic lines. Youth experience pressure to use alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs at increasingly early ages. Most teens who do not give into drug and substance use, credit their parents as a major factor in that decision.

In making a comparison between the sexes, studies show that girls may lose self-confidence and self-worth during puberty, become less physically active, perform less well in school, and neglect their own interests and inspirations. During these years, girls are more vulnerable to negative outside influences and to mixed messages about risky behaviors. Girls are also at higher risk than boys for sexual abuse, which has been associated with substance abuse. Among boys, puberty tends to increase aggressive behavior, which occurs a year or two later than it does in girls. Boys tend to experience mood swings and can have feelings of anxiety during puberty. During these years, boys crave exploration of things associated with being grown up, including sexual behavior or experimentation with alcohol, tobacco, or illegal drugs. This is where the guidance, and nurturing from parents help them grow into healthy, well-informed adolescents and adults, so that they have the ability to adapt to changing circumstances, and a belief in their ability to "handle things."

When you love a child, you need to get into the habit of talking with them everyday. The more you know about your child, the easier it will be to guide him toward more positive activities and friendships. It's important not to be critical. Positive reinforcement and constructive support are more effective in influencing children's behavior than criticism. If you are successful in establishing open lines of communication with your child about day-to-day events, she will be more likely to seek your input on more serious issues as well.

To Be Continued: When You Love A Child (5)

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