Drugs in Schools - Lets Do Something About Prevention
Whose Problem Is It?
Drug use in schools is everybody's problem or at least it should be. Children are being targeted at an increasingly younger age so this problem is not restricted to high school, college or university. It is also evident in primary schools. By the time parents discover their son or daughter is using drugs it is often a little late. Depending on how long the drug use has been going on the harder it is to help them effectively.
Many parents blame themselves for not seeing the signs earlier or for being more vigilant about who their friends were and what they got up to before and after school. But parents can not be everywhere all of the time and besides even when we think we know what our kids are doing it is often far from the truth. We, as parents must remember that we were kids ourselves once and although we may not have been hiding drugs from our parents, we still had our secrets.
The thing is, no one is to blame really but it is everybody's problem because drugs effect so many people on many different levels.
The student may feel he has disappointed his parents, feel shame and embarrassment. Parents often feel embarrassed about facing teachers and other parents, family and friends. The school and teachers may experience unwanted attention from authorities, the press and sometimes the police. Society then feels the strain on services which is costly in money and time. The time and cost involved in putting together operations to bring drug dealers to court is staggering.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
We should not have to continually rebuild the structure of society every time some members of it undermine it. Drug dealers and users impact on this structure, ripping away funds and time that could be put to better use, such as those with disabilities and the aged. However I always believe prevention is better than cure and although there is a lot being done in the area of drug addiction most fail to recognise where it often begins. There are many clinics and rehabilitation centres that do a wonderful job in putting those with addictions back on track but I am certain that their waiting lists keep growing because no one is addressing the problem in the correct way or at the right time. the same might be said for other crimes and criminals as well, especially repeat offenders. there must be something wrong with a system that punishes people for crimes who once released go ahead and repeat their actions sometimes over and over again.
From a drug users perspective the drug of choice is mind numbingly fun, sometimes so much so that the expense to acquire it means asking for or stealing money from family friends and strangers. We will at times do things we never thought we would do in order to get our hands on more and we always want more, there appears no end to the wanting.Why do we crave that disconnection from life? even if it is for a short while.
When to loads of people life is good and to be celebrated, where drinking consists of a few beers with friends to celebrate a good week, where money seems to flow and the biggest problem is what restaurant to eat at, these same people may still go home and snort a line of coke because something within them screams out to be heard. Maybe they don't want to hear it, or they have heard it so many times but still don't know what to do with it. Feelings can only be ignored temporarily. Eventually those feelings will demand a voice that might only be silenced by death itself.
To the majority of drug users death is not what they seek. They simply seek a release from the pain caused by the stress of simply living. Still others search for 'something more, more thrilling, more exciting. But whatever they seek is really a distraction from having to feel they are not 'good enough', 'not worthy of', not able to express themselves,....the list goes on. To put it simply, they have been locked into a cage without a key to open the door that allows them to be who they really are and want to be.
And how did this come about?
Their parents wanted the very best for them (well we hope so), but parenting can be tricky too. Parenting doesn't come with any book of instructions and even those who should never have children are able to and then unfortunately do a less than good job of it. But even if each of us (parents) only ever do the best we can, knowledge about mistakes we can avoid is paramount to ensuring our children do not need to chose drugs to escape.
Do you believe it is important for a child to express all of their feelings (in a safe way)
Kids can be a handful. In social situations there is pressure, (sometimes silent) on parents from other parents for kids to 'behave'. They are restricted by particular unwritten rules that differ within certain groups. Kids are expected to perform in certain ways and so parents often become super sensitive to their children's behaviour.
As a child I was told, when I expressed my fear, anger, or frustration to 'stop it'. I learned from an early age that expressing anything but happiness was not acceptable.
And yet my mum and dad were great parents. They were not abusive, I always had food to eat and toys to play with. I was allowed friends to stay over, we went on holidays. My upbringing was wonderful. And yet I have carried with me this dark shadow. I don't know how to express myself, in fact i fear my feelings.
I avoid confrontation and hide my true feelings about many issues. Hence I put up with a lot of shit. I bite my tongue and suppress my anger. I would be a perfect target for drugs. in fact I have had issues with alcohol. The only reason I am not an alcoholic is that I vomit and get migraines after a six pack and that can be a bit hard to take.
Feelings need to be encouraged and expressed in a safe way and this needs to start at a very young age.
Allowing a Child to Express Emotions
I am no expert. I do know that if I had been able to feel comfortable in expressing my feelings I may not have put up with bad relationships. This insecurity has led me to stay in bad and even toxic relationships and friendships. Unfortunately this has been witnessed by my own children and also effected the way I parent. I often told my kids to 'stop crying', 'it's not that bad, get over it' because that is what I knew. It is what I had heard my parents tell me and I thought that was the right way to parent.
Never Too Late
I know better now and although I can not go back and change what has happened, I can now begin to allow myself to really feel my emotions without any excuses.
It was super scary at first. I thought that I would lose the love of my husband because I would be showing my true feelings to him. I believed that love only came from being 'good' and 'happy' and that if I was angry or sad no one would love me. I had learned this from an early age and even though it did not make logical sense this had imprinted on my subconscious.
It is still an uncomfortable experiment but i am making progress. I have displayed some of my feelings and my husband is more loving and understanding than i had dared to dream possible. I had become my biggest critic without realising it.
Parents Perception Versus Childs Perception
When child A has a toy torn away by child B and child A starts screaming, the parents of child A might think that their child is over reacting to the situation. I mean, fair enough it is only a toy, it's not the end of the world. However, this is the parents perception of the situation. To child A it is tragic, their toy has been taken away from them and it is, as far as they are concerned, gone forever. It is a big deal to child A. As parents we need to respect our child's perception as their own. After all we have most likely been in the same situation, as a child, and possibly reacted in the same way. When child A is denied the ability to express feelings of hurt and anger he, or she is left feeling that it is not okay to show these emotions. If they show these emotions labelled as 'bad' adults, especially mum and dad will not be happy.
This is not what we truly want for our children. To feel insecure about expressing our emotions is crippling. And yet many do it unknowingly, unaware of the consequences that carry on throughout their child's adult life. This is why I am writing this hub. Please think about your own upbringing in relation to how you were able or not able to express your feelings. Don't let this keep carrying on through generations. If you make an effort to change by demonstrating to others how it is okay to really feel emotions rather than suppress them, you encourage others to feel safe in doing the same.