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"It is essential that our parents understand that they're the child's most important teacher, and that the message of our parents must be unequivocal: don't use drugs."
President George W. Bush
Research shows that recent trends in youth drug use have stabilized; however, the rates of use remain at high levels. It has been shown that the earlier drug use is initiated, the more likely a person is to develop drug problems later in life. Youth substance abuse may lead to many other problems that affect not only the child, but also the child's family and community.
Parents are the most important role models in their children's lives. What you say and do about drugs matters a lot when it comes to the choices your children make. You can:
- set a positive example and get involved in your children's lives;
- get involved in their activities, know their friends and know where they're going and what they're doing;
- create clear, consistent expectations and enforce them;
- talk early and often about drugs;
- discuss the consequences of drug use; and
- show you care enormously about what choices your children make about drugs.
Children learn by example. They adopt the values you demonstrate through your actions. The tips contained within this booklet will help you to lead by example and provide you with tips for keeping your child drug free. This booklet covers such important topics as:
- How to help your preschool children make good decisions as they form attitudes about drug use;
- What your children should know about drugs by the time they reach the third grade;
- Ways to help your child stay drug free in the middle and junior high school years; and
- How to ensure your child's school is keeping students drug free.