Addictive Behavior

PillsI’m old enough to remember the loss of all the other members of the ’27 club’, and I naively didn’t expect to see it again. But Amy Winehouse’s death makes it pretty clear that the threat is still there for our kids and we parents need to be vigilant. Thanks to www.communities.washingtontimes.com for the slap upside the head to remind all us parents that the addiction danger is still out there and to provide some tips for watching out for signs that our kids might be vulnerable.

Perhaps the most obvious tip for parents, but still worth repeating, is being involved and knowing who your kids are hanging out with. The article suggests making it a point to see who they hang out with in school as well as who they might bring home- the two might be completely different. It’s always good to be involved in the school, and this is yet another reason to do so when you can.

Also obvious is keeping them busy and engaged, with less time to get themselves in trouble or hanging out with the wrong people. The natural endorphins and physical fitness produced by sports makes sports a good pick, but if sports just aren’t in the cards, any activity that engages the child is good- in moderation.

Moderation is key- limits on the amount of time spent doing any one thing. Not only do such limits reduce the possiblity of any addiction, switching focus to different things is a skill everybody needs to develop.

Its obvious when you think about it- any obsessive behavior may be a sign of future addictive behavior. To quote from the article:

Watch for early signs that a child exhibits obsessive behavior or an unnatural or excessive craving and desire for one activity or object (e.g. to play video games, eat, watch tv) and shows extreme reaction of being deprived of that activity or object.

This last tip is a toughie- your teens’ privacy or your right to know and protect them from self-destructive behavior.  When you read that Amy Winehouse’s parents had prepared her obituary 4 years ago, that privacy wall starts to get some pretty big holes in it.

Not a pleasant subject, but this sad death can at least remind everyone to put a parental eye on the lookout for obsessive or addictive behavior that perhaps can be treated early and overcome.

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