Kids are more susceptible to substance abuse due to various biological and environmental factors, called as risk factors. Though these risk factors are capable of stimulating drug abuse at any stage of life, they are found to be more effective in early childhood and adolescence. This ‘early’ drug abusing habit in a kid may result in severe health complications, besides affecting the family and the community in long run.
Therefore, understanding the risk factors of substance abuse helps in preventing the problem of early drug abuse among children. This article discusses about the main factors that can initiate the habit of drug abuse in kids.
Genes: Various studies have found that drug abuse can be hereditary. Children of alcohol-dependent parents are four times more likely to develop alcoholism, than other children. Children of drug addicted parents are found to have a genetic tendency for substance abuse. Therefore, transmission of alcoholism and drug abuse from parents to their kids is possible. Hence, parents need to stay away from harmful substances.
Addicted friends: Peer influence or pressure plays a vital role in the initiation of drug use. It is one of the strong predictors of drug use during adolescence. Addicted friends initiate and offer drugs to their peers. It is to be noted that the first drink or drug of a person may not be his last. Generally, many of the kids start using drugs or alcohol thinking that they won’t get addicted. But this experimentation eventually turns into addiction.
Easy access: The availability and easy access to alcohol and other prescription drugs (generally ignored by parents at home) gives kids a chance to try them. The availability of drugs at their school and from addicted friends also makes them get used to drugs. Moreover, young kids are more likely to experiment with everything that they find new. Hence, it is better to keep these substances out of their reach.
Conflicts in the family: Constant conflicts between father, mother and siblings create disturbed environment at home. This may lead the kid to anxiety and depression. Because of lack of love, affection and family support, kids try to comfort themselves by getting into unhealthy habits like substance abuse.
Lack of supervision: Kids are innocent and sensitive. At younger stages of life, their minds are not mature enough to differentiate between the right and wrong things. They have the tendency to get attracted to unhealthy lifestyle, which can land them in trouble. Hence, it is very much necessary for the parents or school authorities to provide guidance and constantly check for unhealthy habits in kids.
Many studies found that children, who think their parents are monitoring their behaviors and habits, are less likely to abuse drugs.
If we observe carefully, the role of parents seems to play a major role in making children stay away from unhealthy habits. Creating a good atmosphere at home, having an open communication with children and giving positive parental support enables children to make right choices and lead a healthy lifestyle.
By Nate Rodnay
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