Even youngsters are ready to learn to avoid drug use, as young as those in elementary school. More and more children 12 and younger are trying drugs and alcohol.
Parents and schools need to start teaching substance abuse prevention before children are adolescents. One bonus in this approach is that children in the early grades have a high interest in health and in the ways their bodies work. They are far more ready to learn about prevention and personal safety than they will be as teens. Schools are beginning to recognize this, and abuse prevention programs are becoming common.
One such program in Michigan is called STAND, Students Taking A New Direction. It is based on the fact that peer pressure can be used to prevent drug and alcohol abuse, just as it can encourage it. In STAND groups, students work with a parent-teacher team on leadership skills, assertiveness, refusal skills, communication skills, environmental projects, and substance abuse awareness campaigns and activities. For information on, write:
Warren, Michigan 48092
You can talk with your 5- and 6-year-olds about right and wrong, or things that are safe and dangerous. You can build self-esteem and confidence that will help them say no later. You can teach them about rules and responsibilities. You can develop good family communication and encourage them to talk with you about their ideas, fears, and feelings. You can show your love. You can be a good model. Doing these things now with your children will help form the kind of patterns andstrong relationships that will help prevent problems later.
Available from the Anheuser Busch company are two free booklets in a series called "Family Talk About Drinking," which tell you why and when you should talk with your kids, and even give you examples of real conversations. Call 1-800-359-TALK with your request and address.