From the moment we’re born we are in training. We’re really good at it. Through a combination of genetic disposition and observation we learn to walk and we learn to talk. But we’re also picking up less obvious things. That baby in the high chair watching its parents is observing their interaction. It’s learning about communication, it’s learning about interaction. When that child sees a parent slamming a drink when they come home from work, they may also be learning about addiction.
A Cultural Issue
Scenes of substance abuse are ubiquitous in our culture. Kids see drugs and alcohol all over. They will see sitcoms, even cartoons, where people use drugs and alcohol to relax or hallucinate. They are associating the idea of drugs and alcohol with pleasure and relaxation from a very early time in their life. This is an especially dangerous way to portray substance use seeing as addiction and depression are so often a package deal.
The Importance of Being Earnest
Many parents think they can wait till their child’s teenage years to discuss sex and alcohol. What they neglect to realize is that the kid has been learning about these things passively their entire lives. To steer a kid in a safe direction, there must be free and earnest communication during their entire childhood.
Communication must actually be a dialog. Listen, don’t just talk. If you constantly describe alcohol as “bad” don’t be surprised if your child starts trusting you less after they tried it and had a pleasant experience…or if they learn you drink from time to time as well. It is important to discuss the reasons why people drink and what the problems with substance abuse are. It is critical to also let the child know how to recognize substance abuse and how to get help. They need to grow up in an environment where they are able to understand and see demonstrated that you are there to keep them safe and to protect them.
For more information about addiction and how you can help yourself or a loved one receive medical detox near Hialeah, Florida, contact us today.