Drugs impact children as young as ten or eleven years old. Due to the open Mexican border, Fentanyl pills are killing 300 people a day, including children. Parents should ask…Could my child take a Fentanyl pill by mistake? Why are young people using drugs instead of learning how to live healthy, productive lives?
What happened to the American family?
Drugs have been around for centuries. But why are children taking drugs today? As a mother, grandmother, and crime prevention specialist for 35 years, I’ve seen American values, attitudes, social isolation, and parenting skills change, increasing the drug epidemic.
Today, 18.4 million children are growing up without a biological father in the home, which can have a significant impact. One in four women are raising children in abusive relationships. In addition, some adults are “helicopter parents.” They don’t let children make mistakes, solve problems or suffer the consequences for bad behavior. They rescue and control a child’s life, which takes away their self-confidence, making them weak and dependent. These children can become anxious, depressed, vulnerable targets for bullies, or angry and violent.
The media and movies bombard children with images of beautiful people, sex, and violence. Sensitive children often suffer in silence as they struggle with self-image and how to fit in and be accepted. Children lacking self-awareness don’t learn how to handle rejection or failure. They may focus on emotional pain and blame themselves. That reaction often leads to social isolation, anger, and depression. Or, a child may keep secrets or lie, as many adults don’t ask questions and listen.
Socially isolated youth can become bored and turn to “fake” friends on a computer who listen and care but can manipulate unsuspecting teens into taking sexual pictures, demanding money, or running away. Young people are committing suicide at an alarming rate. Children are growing up in a dangerous world, at home and outside the home.
WHAT CAN ADULTS DO? Children need the self-confidence to speak up and say NO to “friends” who try to manipulate them into taking drugs, having sex, and tolerating abusive relationships. (Teen dating abuse affects 1 in 5 youth)
Parents can listen to children and share stories and activities. If youth understands they have the power to protect themselves, they will not become followers or bullies. A spiritually centered child will discover their inner power and not feel anxious, powerless, or escape into drugs. Children must learn to cope with life’s “slings and arrows!”
Children need three significant factors to help them take responsibility for their future.
1. A family who listens, cares, and supports each other. (A family can be a group of people who love and care for a child)
2. Every child needs to learn how to live by their inner strength and spirit to help them grow strong and resilient.
3. Children in various supportive networks learn how to develop healthy relationships.
Parents can give children the emotional support they need to stay on a healthy path which can be found with neighbors, sports teams, youth groups, and a religious group. Connected, self-aware children do not become socially isolated or turn to drugs to escape.
As children develop healthy values, they can pursue their dreams. American youth will no longer see the need to abuse drugs to feel good.
A parent’s reward will be responsible children with an excellent foundation to help them lead healthy, productive lives.
Stephanie L. Mann, Crime and Violence Prevention Specialist – Author, Empowerment Parenting: How to raise resilient children who become happy, self-reliant adults. safekidsnow.com