Every parent wants their children to live healthy lives. Unfortunately, the problem with young kids and teens dealing with addictions has not changed throughout the years. In many cases, it is worse and seems to be following trends. Who is reporting these facts? Astonishingly it is not just advocates for children and the medical community, but the kids themselves.
With social media as the norm, kids are putting so much about their lives and those of their “friends” online. As parents, we could argue that these are merely statements to get attention and that social media may inflate the truth. However, with the death rate of children and teens on the rise, can we afford not to take it seriously. Today, the trend for social media is more visual than ever Various new platforms pop up all the time that widens the window into their lives.
Addiction and destructive lifestyles are not new. However, they are also no longer private. Kids are wearing their pain on their digital sleeves (screens). The monster seems to be taking root in so many areas of life. Now it has blossomed in the doctor medicated community. The very place where there is supposed to be healing is a breeding ground for pain and destruction.
As someone that has worked in information technology monitoring, specifically that of students, I can tell you that very few parents are aware of the size of the problem. If your kid wants to escape reality, it is in the pockets and backpacks of their classmates. However, many parents don’t discuss or dig into the matter. They tell themselves that it would never happen to their child. A proclamation that those encountering tragedy state after the fact. They (parents) are also scared to encounter it. They don’t want to accuse. They don’t want issues to flare up at home. Some parents knowingly turn a blind eye to their child’s involvement under their own roof. I have seen this happen repeatedly.
Am I saying that your kids are bad, weak, or immoral? Am I implying that some readers may be doing a lousy job of connecting with their kids and the struggles that they face? What I am saying is that despite all the resources, programs, and campaigns, substance abuse is on the rise accompanied by depression. Drugs are a part of our culture. Call it what you want. Some of your kids may be getting access to it at school. Others are getting access to drugs from their family doctors or the misuse of prescription meds.
During my time in education technology, I monitored an interesting evolvement of the drug culture. The only part that did not change was that substance abuse and addiction did not go away. Surprisingly to this old guy, what has changed is how young people are talking about it and the lack of shame factor that exists. The victim mentality and condition norming have almost made it tolerable unless you get caught selling it or you accidentally or intentionally O.D. At that point, the whole family gets drug into the limelight.
Trust me when I say that you don’t have to be a crappy parent for your child to become a part of this culture. Many a loving and vigilant parent still fails to prevent this plague from touching their family. This problem is not solely root in genetics. We must be aware of the culture. How can we do everything possible to battle this issue? Start communication early. Don’t shelter and hide your kids or even yourself to what reality is. Your kids are going to encounter this culture. The question is whether they and you will do it well informed with a healthy dialog.
If your family has been affected by substance abuse and addiction, you can’t go at this thing alone. Alone is usually a recipe for failure. You need to reach out to professionals that can assist you. Reach out to clergy, family, and community for help. If you do not, you will enable the problem.
For those of you fortunate enough to have very young kids, just starting a family, etc., Start talking now. Educate yourself. Get involved. This is a problem that will not go away. However, you can minimize the damage and risks if you are proactive. Talk to your kids. Listen to them. Make them your hobby. Give them your time. Be the best dad possible.