How to Keep Your Children Away from Drugs (Prov. 22:6)

Drugs can be a scary thing for parents, especially with the rise of heroin, and the opium epidemic. There is a perception that my child could be next. Proverbs is an excellent book of the Bible, full of good advice for our lives here on this sinful earth. The verse for today is where we will begin to learn how to protect our children from drugs.

Protecting our children from drugs and alcohol begins when they are young. We are to train them in the direction they are to go, as Proverbs says. Be very clear, every chance you get, on the dangers of drugs and alcohol and your expectations in regard to their use. You do not know when your son or daughter may be offered a chance to use them and “have a little fun.” If they are prepared ahead of time and know where you stand, they are more likely to not give in to that temptation.

If we talk the talk, we also need to walk the walk. When you expect your child to stay away from certain substances, you should also do the same. Parents are the most important role models for their children. Our children are watching us, and if your child sees you using any substance, he or she is less likely to listen to your instruction.

Another parental role in protecting our children from substances begins long before they are exposed to it. Research continues to find more importance regarding the parent-child bond. This starts during the infancy, when trust is established. However, as children grow up, they appropriately start pulling away, but if they believe that you care for them, they are less likely to disappoint you. If your children know that you love them no matter what, they are less likely to turn to problematic peers.

Though love is important, our children can still make mistakes, and some of those could be deadly. There are ways to continue to keep an eye on our children as they venture out into the world. Monitoring involves many types of behavior, for example, finding out who your child’s friends are and who their parents are, knowing where your teen is going, regulating internet and social media use, and checking in with him or her periodically. Make your rules and the consequences for violating those rules clear. When those rules are broken, enforce them consistently.

Religious upbringing can also protect our children. Multiple studies have found out that attending church, believing that God wants us to take care of our bodies, and having a close personal relationship with Him decrease the use of substances in youth. Parents can play an important role in their children’s religious development by taking them to church, being a good role model, teaching them the importance of caring for their body, and encouraging them to build their own personal relationship with Christ.

A great way to do all of these things is by enjoying regular family meals together. When teens eat 3 to 5 meals together with their family, they are much less likely to get involved in risky activities, such as drugs. It is at meal time that we pray together, that we talk about our concerns, that we make clear our expectations, that we show we care about their problems, that we role model healthy behaviors, and that we gather information that aids in monitoring. Family meals should be undistracted and enjoyable times to spend together. You may have to get creative on when and where you have these meals together; the important thing is to just do it.