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Drug Abuse: A Human Curse? (Part 1)

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A Human Curse?

Introduction

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Drug abuse is an age-old problem, which has spoiled a whole generation.

Generally, teenagers try to escape from the problems by consuming drugs and alcohol, which helps them to forget their surrounding problems.

But slowly, they get addicted to it and find it extremely difficult to leave the addiction.

Let’s dive into the topic without wasting any time.

Drug Abuse at a Young Age

The world today is very fast-paced and there is a lot of psychological pressure that builds upon young children. Evey one is unhappy.

The situation is critical in the adolescent years when peer pressure and the need to fit in the best social circles is the most intense. It is often easier to give in and be accepted in a group.

Many kids abuse substances at a young age to escape from their own realities and pressure at home or in school.

They could be facing bullying, have insecurities, or anxiety and depression.

These mental health issues are often neglected in the pursuit of academic excellence.

The consequences are disastrous. Let us study in detail how these problems occur and can be dealt with healthily.

Courtesy – Youtube

Authoritarian Versus Empathetic Parenting       

The seed of anxiety, depression, insecurity and substance abuse often lies in the way the child has been brought up.

The early childhood years are the time when the child’s personality is formed. 

There is no right and wrong parenting but there are a few warning signs that can help parents understand where they are going wrong.

Authoritarian Parents. Authoritarian parents often miss these signs.

They are strict disciplinarians and believe in running the home like clockwork.

Authoritarian parents believe that a child’s behaviour is shaped by strict codes of behaviour.

They hardly listen to the child or take into account that every child is different.

In some cases, parents also physically hurt the child if they find them disobeying. The child becomes a victim of emotional neglect.

The parents are always cold and do not invite any physical or emotional closeness with their children. This often leads to distress in the child.

Adolescents and older children feel isolated and may make up for the lack of empathy at home in undesirable ways.

They often become rebellious, have low self-esteem and are prone to fail academically.

These kids often turn to gratification from drugs and alcohol.

Empathetic Friends. Empathetic or un-authoritative parenting is the other end of the spectrum.

It is a judicious blend of strictness at appropriate age groups.

Boundaries are established but made flexible.

The child is treated with love and empathy.

Every child needs a routine and boundaries that he can respect.

But the parents need to have a line of communication open with older kids.

There needs to be a feeling of openness and intimacy.

Emotional security is a product of good parenting.

Children develop good self-esteem and are secure in the love of their parents. They can talk to their parents about their concerns and be heard. This leads to harmony and security.

Children who can go to their parents with their concerns have fewer rebellious phases and behavioural issues.

Spending Habits Of Adolescents

Much has been said about irresponsible spending habits of minors but the issue of how much pocket money is good is still debatable.

Compensation for Lost Time. There are parents who are busy in their work and give inordinate amounts of money to their children to compensate for neglecting them.

They may also give them money as they are unable to say no to the child.

Permissive parents may agree to any demands of their children.

Consequences

The rot starts in early childhood when parents bend to every demand their child makes. This becomes a habit and soon parents are shelling out large sums of pocket money.

It might be out of guilt of not spending time with the child or to compensate for other things.

It might be the want to be equal or superior in the friends’ group.

Most high spending parents do it to maintain a status and the trait passes down to the child as well.

Having too much money that the child does not have to account for to the parents often leads to bad spending patterns.

The child learns bad spending habits and may give in to the fad of drug and alcohol abuse that is so rampant in modern society.

The child with low self-esteem often finds ways to compensate in ways that are not desirable.

The trial drug abuse often turns into something more serious. The need to fit in often turns into an addiction.

The child turns to unethical ways to get money to feed the addiction.

It may lead to stealing or other activity that is not legal. It may lead to a vicious cycle of criminal activity. 

It is a good idea to not give large amounts of money to children. The money should always be accounted for.

It may be a good idea to make the child earn the money by doing chores around the house.

When they learn the value of money the spending habits are regulated and do not go out of hand.

Parents also hold the child accountable and are aware of where the child is spending money. This may ultimately lead to responsible spending habits and keep the child away from bad influences and addiction.

These practices actually enable your child to get addicted.

Courtesy – Youtube

Substance Abuse Is A Form Of Rebellion

As already discussed a lack of good parenting may lead to children being insecure.

Children with low self-esteem often get into bad habits.

Funnily enough, it the weak and insecure kids who are the biggest bullies and not the other way around. They may turn to drug abuse as it makes the feeling stronger and superior.

The need to be “cool” and fit in with the crowd is often a reason to fall into bad company.

The weaker child often finds it a good option to hang out with a crowd that looks strong. This is unfortunately often in the wrong way.

The “cool” gang is often the one that breaks rules, turns to substance abuse, and are miscreants.

The peer pressure to be accepted is often the downfall of the child trying to desperately find an identity.

The identity crisis is the strongest in adolescence.

The Confusing Biological Changes

The changes in the body, hormonal upheavals and an uncommunicative family set up often leads a child into dangerous waters.

The weaker personality often gets overshadowed by a need to please.

The drugs are a defence mechanism.

The drugged state produces euphoria and this makes the child feel secure for a while.

The defence mechanism also ensures that the child does not have to face his weaknesses.

It helps him remain in a world of make-believe where he is accepted and strong too.

In some cases, the child turns to substance abuse as a way of gaining attention.

The parents maybe not giving the child attention or the personality of the kid has been so weakened that he craves attention. Insecure children are more prone to doing absurd things to gain the attention of parents or teachers.

They may start in early childhood as seemingly harmless tantrums and may grow into serious offences like drug abuse and stealing.

Signs Of Substance Abuse

The vigilant parent, sibling or teacher can easily see signs of drug abuse. but in many cases, the problem goes undetected as the child covers his tracks well.

There are some common signs of substance abuse that may give a clue and help authorities to take preventive or curative action.

  • Drugs may cause lethargy and the child may sleep more than usual. Some substances may also have the opposite effect and the child might be hyperactive. any major deviations from normalcy must be looked into and correlated with other symptoms.
  • Some kinds of drugs may cause sleeplessness. Any significant change in sleep patterns is a fair indication that something is wrong. Difficulty in falling asleep or falling asleep at odd times may be a general pattern of drug abuse.
  • Changes in appetite can also be an indicator of drug abuse. Some drugs make you very hungry while others may cause a lack of appetite.
  • The eyes may be bloodshot and watery if the child is on drugs. The substance intake may also lead to dilated pupils or pin-point ones depending on the drug ingested.
  • The speech may be slurred too. Some kids may go silent or some may speak too much and too fast.
  • The main give away is tremors in the hands and impaired coordination. the child may often show tendencies of falling over and being clumsy.
  • There might be a general apathy when the kid stops looking after his grooming and may show signs of anxiety and depression.
  • Signs of depression and anxiety may show in the clenching of the jaw, curled up fists, and a flushed face.

These are some general signs of drug abuse.

These may be present in some measure when your child is under the influence.

You may also find missing money or other suspicious behaviours.

Talk to your child and try to understand what he is going through.

You may be able to ascertain the signs if you are in touch with teachers and friends who spend a big chunk of the day with the child.

Weaning The Child Off Drugs

Do not despair if you think your child is on drugs.

The first step is to make sure.

A suspicious parent is not always rational.

You must make sure that you are not misreading the signs.

The first thing is to talk freely to your child.

Communication is the most important aspect of trying to get your child off drugs.

  • Pick an appropriate time to talk. If your kid is under the influence of an intoxicant or is angry or defensive, it will not be fruitful.
  • The place where you choose to talk is also very important. Choose an area that is private and quiet. Distractions and noise will be counterproductive to the discussion and may spook your child.
  • Practice what you want to say to your teenager. Accusations and anger will not help. You need to be calm and helpful. Reassuring the child is very important. He should be made aware that he will not be punished but will be given help and understanding.
  • Have a plan to help. Confront the child only if you have sufficient proof that he is abusing drugs. You will require professional help to wean the child off. It may require counseling or even admission to rehabilitation programs. That depends on the extent of abuse and the type of drugs used.
  • It might help if you take the help of someone your child trusts and will open up with.

Group Support

Always remember that you are not alone in the struggle to keep your child away from substance abuse.

Do not feel alone, isolated, or frustrated as that will not help your child.

Family counseling sessions are very helpful as dealing with addiction is not easy for the child.

Do not enable but support your child in these circumstances.

Stop making excuses for your child.

Face the bad behaviour and create boundaries.

It does not help to make excuses for your teenager.

Let them face the consequences of their own behaviour. This will lead to making them, well-balanced adults.

Encourage and appreciate them when they behave well and shoulder responsibility.

Reinforce good behaviour with praise and rewards when they are drug-free and do a constructive activity.

Last, but not the least, children who abuse drugs are troubled and confused.

They might have mental health issues. Never ignore the signs.

Seek professional help when you see signs of any activity that is not healthy. 

Keep the lines of communication open.

This is important in children off all ages, irrespective of everything.

Strong communication channels will help your child have access to someone to talk to and avoid the conflicts that adolescence brings.

Parents have an important role to play in their child’s well-being.

It is important to be involved in the parenting process actively to avoid a disconnect later in life.

Draw boundaries, communicate, use love and logic, and not force to instill discipline in your child’s life.

Parents are their child’s first teachers and best friends, play the role well to grow balanced and healthy kids.

Courtesy – Youtube

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