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Will my 7 year old be addicted to drugs?

Question

I know that many kids in high school experiment with drugs, which terrifies me given my own problems as a teen. My daughter is only seven-years-old but can I do anything now to help prevent her from getting addicted later in life?

 

Answer

About 50 percent of high school kids have tried an illegal drug. Forty-six percent have smoked marijuana, 22 percent have abused prescription drugs, 8 percent have used inhalants and 8 percent have tried hallucinogens. About 23 percent of teens use tobacco products.

Focus on two things with your young child. First, encourage her participation in activities where she can experience real success. That may involve academics, sports, hobbies, youth groups or clubs. Kids who are successful and receive genuine recognition from their family and community are less vulnerable to seeking pleasure from chemicals.

Second, work hard at your relationship with your daughter, particularly during her teen years. Spend time with her. Take an interest in her world without being too intrusive. Try to find some common activities that connect both of you. Having a great relationship with your daughter may encourage her to look to you rather than to illegal substances when life gets tough.

 

Question

We just had our first child and I’m getting lots of emails about ways to improve my daughter’s IQ. Is it worth the money to try some of these things?

Answer

No. Other than providing her with a loving and stable home, the most important activity you can do to promote your child’s development is to read to your daughter.

Although only an infant, read to her every day.  She will enjoy the sound of your voice and the feelings of being close to you.  As she matures, she’ll begin to understand lots of what you read even before she begins to speak.

Reading is not expensive, high tech, or time consuming, but remains the most powerful way to influence your daughter’s development.

Question

I am blessed with an extraordinary relationship with my 12 year-old daughter. Lately, it seems like all she wants to talk about is sex, which is fine since I’d rather she talk with me rather than to her friends or go on the internet.

She has starting asking me some personal questions about my own sexual history and stuff about her dad.  How can I avoid these questions without turning her off?

Answer

You are entitled to your privacy, including keeping confidential your own sexual behavior. Try this. “Honey, I’m so glad you are talking with me about sexual issues and please continue to do so. However, I’m uncomfortable talking about my own sexual history so I won’t answer those types of questions. Please respect my privacy, as I’ll respect yours.”

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We have created this blog as a way to communicate key childrens' health and safety issues to parents and other child advocates. It is managed by Dayton Children's department of marketing communications. Comments can be sent to rodneyg@childrensdayton.org.

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