Preventing Inhalent Abuse
Although some states have laws to try and deal with inhalant abuse, such laws are not always easy to enforce. Since inhalants are legal and kids can get them from so many different ways, it is not possible to make inhalants entirely off-limits. The best way to fight inhalant abuse is to educate your child about how harmful these products are. Explain how they can cause both short- and long-term health problems, further drug abuse, and death. It is important to start talking with children at a young age, because inhalant abuse often starts as young as 8 or 9 years old. Parents and teachers should also be able to recognize the warning signs of inhalant abuse.
Help prevent your child from turning to inhalants and other drugs by taking these steps:
- Set a good example at home. As a parent, you are the best role model for your child. Parents who use drugs also place their children at higher risk for drug use.
- Build self-esteem and confidence. Praise your child often. Encourage your son or daughter to set goals and make decisions to achieve them. With each success and your constant support, your child will become more confident in what he or she can do. Children with self-confidence feel good about themselves without needing drugs.
- Help your child develop different interests. Encourage your child to read, have hobbies, play sports, or join clubs. These activities can keep your son or daughter from using drugs out of boredom or from having too much free time. Young people will find that they can have a lot of fun and feel good without drugs. Take an active interest in your child's interests and in his or her friends.
- Help your child resist peer pressure. Being independent and self-confident can help your child resist pressure from friends to abuse inhalants. To foster independence, show confidence in your child's ability to make his or her own decisions. Encourage your child to make his or her own judgments, no matter what friends or others say or do.
- Talk openly and often. Talk about things that are important to and relevant in your child's life. This includes discussing drugs and how some kids might use them to be accepted by their peers. Educating your pre-teen or teen about the dangers of drugs, including inhalant abuse, works best through talking rather than lecturing.
Source: American Academy of Pediatrics