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Something happens to you when you become a parent, beyond the practical aspects of raising your child. It is like a balloon full of thoughts on everything you thought you knew pops up in your mind when you least expect it. Or, at least that is how it happened when my oldest was born.
I remember sitting with her on the couch late one night during one of her every hour on the hour feeding times and seeing a commercial that talked about drug and alcohol abuse playing on the TV in the background. That bubble in my brain filled up with 1,000 things I needed her to know about drug and alcohol facts and the dangers of abuse.
I decided right then and there that I wouldn’t wait to start the conversation until they were older. Instead, I would share it in little bits right away, and I did. It seemed a bit strange to be talking to a baby about these things, but the reality is that it actually helped me feel comfortable as the years went by because I had already found the words I would be using to share with them on this important subject.
If this is something that you are talking to your kids about, or need to talk to them about, I have a great resource for you. National Drug & Alcohol Facts WeekSM. NDAFW is an annual, week-long observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter myths about substance use and addiction. The observance is being held January 23-29, 2017, and is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health.
The week-long observance was launched in 2010 to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens often hear from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or friends. Since its inception, the number of community-based events held to SHATTER THE MYTHSTM,SM has grown dramatically, with more than 2,000 held last January throughout all 50 states and several international sites. Events link teens with scientists and other experts, creating a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures. <—- I love that part. Teens need to feel comfortable asking questions so that they can absorb and use what they are learning.
I feel like we are doing a really good job with our girls talking about this subject, and taking the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge – a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs – proved that.
We both took it and felt we had a good grasp on the subject. This is a good resource for parents to take and use the results to start a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol. One thing that I didn’t know, and neither did Maddie or Ashley, were the names that different drugs are called on the street. We knew them by their regular names, but I thought that it was really good for the girls to both know other names for them so that they can know what people are talking about if they are offered one.
We found the whole site full of factual information for all of us and I can see this becoming something we use to keep teaching Emmy about this as she grows into her teen years too.