If tobacco use or alcoholism runs in your family, talk to your children about their inherited risk. If only one parent or grandparent was addicted, they have a one-in-three chance of becoming addicted. If two parents and/or grandparents were addicted, the likelihood rises to a two-in-three chance. Not good odds.
One of the most effective strategies to prevent you child from becoming involved with tobacco is to discuss with them the recent revelations of the tobacco industry’s conspiracies to make tobacco more addicting and to target children as their “replacement smokers.”
You can get some great information about this by going to the “Tobacco Resources on the Internet” Web site. Convince your children to rebel against the conspiracies of the tobacco industry instead of using tobacco and harming themselves. Print your children a copy of our feature article for kids and teens, “Don’t Be a Cool Fool,” and read it together. It is a strategy that is proving to be very convincing to young people!
New substance abuse prevention programs have been developed that actually work very well! Make sure that your child’s school has one. In my opinion, the most exciting program is called “Life Skills Training.” It was developed by one of America’s foremost experts on drug abuse prevention, Dr. Gilbert J. Botvin, director of Cornell University’s Institute for Prevention Research.
Dr. Botvin has spent the past 20 years researching the causes of drug abuse and what prevents it. The Life Skills Training (LST) program is designed for sixth or seventh graders, with booster programs in the two following years. Students who have had this curriculum have a 66 percent lower rate of alcohol and cigarette use, and a 44 percent lower rate of marijuana use.
This curriculum is recommended by the National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the American Medical Association. You can get information about it from your state alcohol and drug abuse commission, or you can visit their Web site. It is not hard to sell it to your school district. It will sell itself.
The good thing about emotional intelligence is that it is a teachable skill, and our children can start to learn it in very early ages.. I have seen many bright, intelligent college students do very stupid things with alcohol and drugs because they lacked the skills to manage their social, emotional and spiritual well-being. Make sure your child is also lifestyle smart, not just book smart.