Being addicted (to illegal drugs, alcohol, and any other substance) is generally defined as a brain disease that is characterized by intense cravings, lapse and relapse, and marked dysfunction in key life areas. Young people, including your child or children, are under the threat of this disorder.
Luckily for you, there are now a lot of studies that help identify the factors that put a person at risk of doing behaviors that might lead to addiction. We discuss some of the factors here. We also include in the discussion the steps that you can take as a parent to somehow minimize the influence of such factors on your child.
Before we proceed with the discussions, it is important to reiterate that the factors that we talk about are not factors that necessarily lead to addiction. They are, however, factors that lead to behaviors that might result in addiction. Addiction, therefore, is the indirect consequence of these factors. With this, it can be said that if you are able to control these factors, you are like nipping the problem in the bud.
Attitudes toward behaviors that lead to addiction.
For ease in discussion, we will use alcohol dependence as our running example. Being addicted to alcohol most likely just started from the habit of consuming alcohol with friends or even family members. Now, a person’s attitude toward drinking is going to be a very significant factor in determining whether or not they will engage in drinking behavior.
What makes drinking such an interesting case is the fact that attitudes toward it are generally positive. It’s culturally accepted especially for men to drink and be merry, especially during celebrations.
Going against the norm is not going to be an easy feat, but as a mother you can very well try to make your children see the harmful effects of alcohol abuse. You may also instill in them the importance of knowing their limits when it comes to alcohol consumption and saying no when they’ve reached them.
Belief that others expect or want them to engage in risky behaviors.
Just to be clear, people do not really consume alcohol drinks with the intention of getting addicted to them. Addiction is oftentimes an unintended consequence that requires a lengthy intervention so that it can be effectively controlled. Alliant Recovery is a good example of an institution that has had significant successes in addiction treatment.
Now, another factor that pushes a person to engage in behaviors that might put them at risk of getting addicted is their idea of what significant others expect of them. A son, for example, might believe that his macho father would want him to drink. A teenage girl might believe that her girlfriends would love her to be a cool social drinker.
In order to combat this, you as a parent should exert efforts to know what types of people your child identifies with. No, this is not so that you can control them. Knowing the people that your child considers important will help you come up with a strategy that you can use to talk to your kid about the drinking problem without offending them.