Helpful Information

[tab: Drug Prevention Tips]


Ingredients For A Nurturing Family and Healthy Child

Nurturing family units usually produce healthier, more well-adjusted children with good self-esteem. Here are some suggestions to strengthen your family.

  1. Improve Communication – A recent study, conducted by the University of Michigan, documents that parents spend only 5 minutes per week engaged in direct face-to-face communication with their children. I think we would all agree that this finding needs improvement. During my career as a Certified Addiction Counselor (C.A.C.), I have been puzzled as to why we don’t place a greater emphasis on family communication. I realize that our family life has changed drastically in that there are more social functions, extracurricular activities and demands outside the home, however, we must make time for good quality exchange of communication between parent and child. Remember, parents have the responsibility to initiate or foster the communication. Don’t wait for our kids to start the conversation.
  2. Help Your Child Improve Their Self-Esteem – By creating a home environment that emphasizes respect and dignity for family members, you’re on the right track. However, helping your child improve their self-esteem will take some special work. Help your child identify those things about them that are special and continue to emotionally support them.
  3. Don’t Be Afraid To Express Feelings/Emotions – Nurturing families openly express how they feel to all family members. There are no hidden agendas and family members are encouraged to express their emotions. Far too many children come from home environments which teach them the 3 Don’ts; Don’t Feel, Don’t Talk, and Don’t Trust.
  4. Celebrate Growth of All Family Members – It is important to recognize achievements within a family unit, however large or small they might be. Family members must be reassured, reinforced, and strengthened through recognition of their work. Do not be intimidated by the strides or achievements of any one family member.
  5. Person Is More Important Than The Performance – Don’t make the mistake of applauding the performance more than the person. It is not important how well our son or daughter performs in Little League, Softball, Mini-Football, etc. What’s more important is the value of the lessons they garner from competition, socialization, and interaction with their peers. The score is meaningless. If you don’t believe me, then try to recall the score of the last 3 Super Bowls or World Series.
  6. Create A Tension Free Atmosphere In Your Home – Some youngsters have told me that going home is not a welcome thought. As one child told me, “You can cut the tension in our home with a machete.” Remember, you have the responsibility to create an environment that is conducive to a good healthy upbringing and one that is free of tension.
  7. Plan Healthy Family Activities – A picnic in the woods, bowling, skiing, trips to the shore, movies, board games, viewing a home video, attending ballgames, playing cards, attending a religious service, etc. are all healthy family activities. Do your best to insure that all members of your family have a steady diet of these.
  8. Emphasize Spirituality – My definition of spirituality is belief in and respect for a Higher Power, respect and dignity for others, appreciation for environment and property of others, acceptance of differences in people, and fair and just treatment of all. Work diligently to insure that these messages are being transmitted in your home.
  9. Teach Your Children – Don’t be afraid to hug and kiss your children no matter what age. Your children need this attention even though they may pull away from you when you reach out to them. Don’t be discouraged by this. There’s nothing like a warm embrace from a loving human being. It sends a loud message of love.
  10. Tell Your Children You Love Them – It is important to verbally tell your children that you love them. You’d be surprised at how many parents have trouble telling their children this. Remember, you need to do this often.
  11. All Subjects Open For Discussion – As a parent, you must keep an open mind and encourage discussions on all subjects, including those that you deem sensitive in nature. If you don’t address sensitive topics with your child, then who will? I tell my son, “I don’t care what’s on your mind, I would like to discuss it with you.” All subjects are open for discussion.
  12. Provide Your Children With Guidelines For Living – Children need to be guided and directed. The rules should not be rigid or authoritative, but instead, “Guidelines For Living.” An example is:
    • All members of this family will treat each other with dignity and respect.
    • Expression of feelings and emotions is encouraged, however, vulgar expressions and language will not be tolerated.
    • It is against the law and against the rules of this house for children to use drugs and alcohol.
    • Daily chores will be performed by all members of the household and will be assigned equally.
    • You are expected to identify peer groups which are healthy since choice of one’s friends is critically important.
  13. Help Your Children To Become Goal-Oriented – Help your child establish short- and long-term goals in their life and define objectives in which to achieve these goals. These lessons will be invaluable. Please don’t assume that your child will automatically know how to do this.
  14. Help With Decision – Making and Establishment of Priorities – Ask your child to tell you the process he/she uses to make decisions and they will look at you funny. We need to explain the art of decision-making utilizing assets vs. liabilities. Children need to understand that decisions must be made from a standpoint of logic and sound reasoning and you can help. Additionally, they must be guided to learn the appreciation of establishing priorities in their life and the importance of insuring that they don’t deviate from them.
  15. Help Your Child Develop A Strong Value System – Values are expectations of behavior that are determined by principles and standards. You need to help your child gain an appreciation of developing a value system.
  16. Finding Alternatives/Options – Helping your child to identify options and alternatives when faced with a difficult situation is important. Children are impulsive human beings who are prone to think spontaneously. It is important to equip our young with valuable lessons by assisting them in identifying options when faced with difficult choices.
  17. Set Rules About Drug and Alcohol Use – You must articulate clear rules about using drugs and alcohol. They cannot be implied, you must state them clearly and uphold your beliefs. It is important to note that children will emulate our behaviors so you have a responsibility to live your life with this in mind.
  18. Be A Good Role Model – Whether you believe it or not, your child will mimic or copy your behavior more than any other person. What you do, how you express yourself, your personal conduct, etc. must be that of a role model since, most assuredly, your children will copy it.

[tab: Ingredients for a Nurturing Family]


A Message To Parents:

Parenting is a skill which can be learned. As a parent, we are continually faced with vital decisions that shape and influence the lives of our children. Often times, you may ask yourself, “How can I be sure that I am bringing a healthy balance into my child’s life?”

Here are some helpful hints for you to consider. Please review each question. Although there is no fool-proof method for parenting, it is commonly believed by experts that if you develop these ingredients in your home, the likelihood of having a nurturing family environment and a healthy drug-free child will be enhanced.

  1. I expect my child to help with household chores on a regular basis.
  2. I attend regular worship services with my child(ren).
  3. I expect that our family have meals together as a family unit.
  4. As a parent, I make sure that a daily time period is set aside for family communication with all family members participating.
  5. I regularly discuss the importance and benefits of living a drug-free lifestyle with my child(ren).
  6. I frequently lead a family discussion on drug prevention.
  7. I make sure there are adequate books/articles on drug and alcohol prevention in my home and I challenge my child(ren) to read them.
  8. I help my child(ren) to understand the importance of having a strong self-esteem.
  9. I regularly engage my child(ren) in conversations about goal-setting, decision-making, setting priorities, identifying coping mechanisms, problem-solving, etc.
  10. I regularly update my child(ren) on the rules of the home and expect they adhere to them in a consistent manner.
  11. I monitor the peer group my child associates with to insure that these friends are positive influences.
  12. I do not leave my child(ren) alone for long periods of unsupervised time.
  13. I set positive examples of daily living for my child(ren) to emulate.
  14. Our family participates in fun activities outside the home on a regular basis with all family members.
  15. I actively participate in my child’s/children’s life by attending PTO meetings on a regular basis, school functions in which he/she is participating in, parent-teacher conferences, etc.
  16. I have established curfews for my child(ren) and do not tolerate violations by them.
  17. I always make sure there are consequences for my child, if he/she violate the rules of the home, school, or community.
  18. I encourage and expect my child(ren) to participate in service clubs and organizations in the school, church, and community.
  19. I encourage and expect my child(ren) to become involved in volunteer activities in the community; nursing homes, working with mentally challenged, physically challenged, etc.
  20. I monitor, on a regular basis, the music and television programs my child(ren) listen to and watch.
  21. I frequently praise my child(ren), even if the accomplishments are small.
  22. I hug and kiss my child(ren) on a daily basis.
  23. Our family encourages the child(ren) to express their feelings openly.
  24. Our family home environment is nurturing, loving, and respects the rights of all family members, including children.
  25. I try to encourage my child(ren) to participate fully in all family activities.
  26. I am patient with my child(ren) when they make mistakes.
  27. I teach my child, through words and actions, to be respectful of people of different color, culture, ethnic background, religion, gender, etc.
  28. I teach my child(ren) non-violent methods of conflict resolution.

[tab: Recommendations]

Recommendations To Enhance Your Recovery

  1. Maintain involvement in an aftercare program, through our agency, with emphasis on relapse prevention.
  2. Identify a Sponsor within the AA or NA fellowship; maintain frequent contact with the Sponsor, both by phone and in-person. Many individuals who have acquired long-term recovery maintain daily contact with their Sponsor; at a minimum 3-5 contacts per week.
  3. Complete a 90 and 90; attending 90 fellowship meetings preferably during the first 90 days of recovery; this type of a commitment provides you with an in-depth orientation to the importance of the fellowship program in your recovery.
  4. Choose an AA/NA home group; by selecting a home group, you will become more service oriented within the fellowship; making coffee, setting up chairs, greeting newcomers, etc.
  5. Make the AA Big Book your best friend…the information will be invaluable in your recovery.
  6. Maintain steady, regular attendance at AA or NA meetings…Don’t use excuses about why you have decided not to attend. Instead, find reasons why you need to continue to remain involved…the fellowships of AA and NA have been the most-powerful and effective recovery programs in the world. Millions of people credit their long-term recovery to AA and NA.
  7. Assess your peer associations to determine if many of your friends and acquaintances use alcohol in excess or use drugs; Remember the 3 P’s…if you associate with UNHEALTHY PLAYMATES, they will introduce you to UNHEALTHY PLAYPENS, and you will use UNHEALTHY PLAYTHINGS.
  8. Do not deviate from your recommended treatment plan at any time; Remember, relapses occur most often through complacency or deviation of your treatment plan.
  9. Experiment or try to engage in activities, hobbies, or interests that you have never tried or those that you had participated in, but discontinued because drugs and alcohol took away your interest in them.
  10. Attempt to pursue your spirituality; whether this means to begin spiritual worship, begin reading appropriate materials, and/or engaging in prayer groups…understanding who you are and finding a Higher Power in your life significantly augments your recovery …many recovering people believe the circle of recovery is completed when you add a spiritual component.
  11. Try to volunteer in your community. It is a well-known fact that when you give of yourself through service to others, the benefits you will derive will be beneficial. You need to feel the tremendous high you will get when you volunteer your gift of kindness.
  12. Be honest with your physician about your recovery. Talk with them so they are aware of your recovery. Through this partnership, your physician will use caution in prescribing medications for other diseases or medical conditions you might have and will be mindful of your recovery relative to the use of medications for surgeries or other medical procedures you may require.