How to Prevent Your Child from Drinking and Drugging: Creating a Strong Emotional Bond
With Your Child
Dear Dr. Steve:
divorced from a man to whom I was married for ten years. Every day of those ten years he
was drunk and abusive to me and my kids. My kids are now 11, 13, and 16. I dont want
them turning out like their father. Do you have any suggestions for how I can best prevent
them from getting involved with drugs and alcohol?
keeping a child drug and alcohol free is a great challenge to a parent, no one is in a
better position than you to meet this challenge. A variety of published studies report
that children who report feeling close to their families were the least likely to engage
in risky behaviors such as drinking, drugging, and smoking cigarettes.
who believe that their parents listen to their expressed feelings are more comfortable
talking to their parents. Teenagers who can openly communicate with their parents
are more likely to remain alcohol and other drug(s) free. Research shows that teens are
much more likely to delay drinking when they feel they have a close, supportive tie with a
parent. The opposite is also true. If your children feel alienated from you, if your
relationship with your children is punctuated by conflict and rebellion, your children are
more likely to use alcohol and be vulnerable to develop drinking-related problems.
to build a strong, supportive bond with your child? Follow the suggestions listed below:
Establish open communication. Make it safe for your children to talk openly and
honestly for you. How best to accomplish this? Try the following:
a.) Encourage your children to talk about whatever
interests them. Listen. Do not interrupt. By establishing a line of communication
predicated on sincere interest in what your children have to say, you will pave the way
for conversations about topics that are important to you.
b.) Ask open-ended questions. Open-ended questions gives
your children the opportunity to express themselves rather than explain or justify
themselves. Close-ended questions tend to invite yes or no answers. Yes and
no are conversation stoppers that tends to build up resistance rather than build a
foundation of trust and mutual respect.
c.) Control your emotions. There is no place in these
conversations for your anger, disappointment, frustration, and judgment. Remember, this is
an exercise in solely creating and strengthening an emotional bond with your children, not
an opportunity for you to impose your agenda.
d.) Make sure that these conversations are win-win.
The best way to ensure that you create a win-win is to listen rather than lecture,
respect rather than condemn, cooperate rather than dictate, and honor feelings rather than
2.) Conversations with your children should clarify expectations and rules. Be
clear. Be realistic. Be firm. Be consistent. Establish appropriate consequences that you
can consistently enforce.
3.) The tone of your conversations should combine care, concern, love, acceptance, and
respect. Do not criticize or tease. Maintain a distinction between the person and
their behavior by criticizing the behavior but never the person.
4.) Be mindful of what your children are going through. Adolescence is a precarious
developmental time for your children. Their vulnerabilities to the dangers of the world
are compounded by their desire to become independent of your direction and guidance.
Its your responsibility to guide them through these choppy waters with a mixture of
kindness, understanding, and toughness. Just remember, your children need you much more
than they will allow themselves to admit that they need you.
Read Dr. Steve Frischs, Psy.D. series of Recovery books, From Insanity to Serenity.
These books focus on chemical dependency, how to raise alcohol and other drugs free
children, and Recovery for both the chemically dependent individual and their friends and
Fact Sheets about How to Raise an Alcohol and Drug-Free Child
3.) Read Fact Sheets about Information
About Alcohol and Other Drugs
4.) Read the
Fact Sheet, Referrals
5.) Read Fact
Sheet, Warning Signs of Alcohol and Other Drugs Abuse
Entering the World of Your Child: How to Nurture Your Childs Spirit by Dr.
Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
7.) Read A Parents
Guide for Protecting Their Children From Alcohol and Other Drugs by Dr. Steve Frisch,
8.) Read But Im Not The One With the Problem: How to Cope With a Loved One Who
Abuses Alcohol and Other Drugs, by Dr. Steve Frisch, Psy.D.
chemical dependency and its toxic impact on family members. Raise your children to choose
to be alcohol and other drugs free. Learn how to in Dr. Frischs, Psy.D. Recovery
Insanity to Serenity.