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Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The Most Important Conversation

Talking to your children about drugs and alcohol is never an easy conversation; nonetheless, it may be the most important conversation. The way society views drugs and alcohol today is a lot different than it once was, our understanding of addiction has been expanded by advances in medicine and science. Technology has allowed us to look at the brain precisely and the effects that drugs and alcohol have on the brain during developmental years is staggering. People who abuse drugs in their teenage years are much more likely to struggle with addiction in adulthood; this is due to the pleasure-seeking area of the brain known as the nucleus accumbens. We know that the nucleus accumbens can be permanently altered at a very young age, much more so than other parts of the brain.

Preservation of the mind is the goal, the less foreign substances that are introduced to the brain early on the greater a teenagers chance for success. This is why talking to your children proactively is the best way to ensure that they will not develop unhealthy perspectives of drugs. Clearly, the environment one grows up in plays a huge part in what kind of behaviors develops; if a child sees drugs and alcohol being consumed regularly they will be much more likely to think that there is not much harm. Teenagers can be told a lot of things, but, what they see is always going to be more influential - examples are everything.

How does a parent answer their child when their child inquires about their own drug use? Naturally, it is always best to be honest with your kids as long as it is beneficial and doesn't end up being used against you down the road. The question is this, how can a parent tell their child that smoking pot is bad when they once smoked pot and turned out just fine? One needs to be careful to not let their own past transgressions be used against them by their children; this is actually quite common event inside households. "The kid’s trying to divert the attention from an appropriate intervention by a parent," said Deborah R. Simkin, a psychiatrist who is a liaison to Dr. Williams’ committee from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. In the event of that, the parent’s response should be clear: "We’re not going to discuss what I did, we’re going to discuss what you did".

Keep the conversation going and make sure that prevention starts in the home.

Source: New York Times

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