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TIPS FOR PARENTS

GIVE at Skoun

GIVE

Time, attention, affection, and confidence

SET at Skoun

SET

Clear rules and limits

KNOW at Skoun

KNOW

What drugs are out there, how they look, and their effects

Studies have shown that a consistent, secure, and supportive relationship with you is one of the key ways to allow children to listen and open up. 

LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO” at Skoun

LEARN HOW TO SAY “NO”

Be assertive and help your teenager develop an understanding of your set structure.

NEGOTIATE at Skoun

NEGOTIATE

Give a sense of responsibility to your child. Listen to their needs and concerns. You can respect what he feels and then voice your concerns.

TRUST at Skoun

TRUST

Have confidence as your help your child build their own self-confidence. Accept that your teenager can learn from experiences. Trust allows for a sense of responsibility and confidence.

DIALOGUE at Skoun

DIALOGUE

Establish dialogue in an environment of trust and respect. Listen to your child first as they express their thoughts and feelings. Spend quality time with them as you talk, have family meals, engage in shared activities and get to know their friends. Learn what they like to do and join in.

Answers you might be looking for

In Lebanon, 1 out of 5 students aged 13-15 report having been drunk at least once. Once your child is sober, try to initiate dialogue. What did your teen drink? Who was your child with? What was the context? Did your teen want to fit in with their friends? Did your teen drive while under the influence? Was the driver drinking? Keep in mind that the occasional drunkenness can have serious consequences such as road accidents or unprotected sex.

Because alcohol is legal, it is safe and not a drug: False

Even though alcohol is legal as of age 18, it still is a powerful drug that can lead teens to act in ways they normally wouldn’t. It could put your teen at risk of accidents, violence, and aggression. Too much alcohol can also lead to alcohol poisoning that can lead to comas or even death.

Alcohol use is a social norm: False

Not all young people drink. Even though consumption is usually acceptable, it should be kept under control.

Mixing energy drinks with alcohol is safer: False

Alcohol and energy drink mixes are unsafe as it could cause heart problems and increase dehydration. It also allows for prolonged drinking, thus increasing risks for road accidents.

Alcohol makes you happier and allows you to forget your troubles and self-consciousness: False

Even though alcohol can give the impression of euphoria and confidence, it doesn’t actually change anything about life circumstances. If anything, the situation can worsen as the effect wears off.

It is easy to control consumption even when drinking: False

Alcohol impairs judgment and increase risk of falling victim to unprotected sex, date rape, assault, and many other dangers.

What to avoid:

  • Disregarding the issue Over-dramatizing your teen’s drunken episode
  • Allowing your child to drink at home
  • Drinking with them
  • Letting them go out without knowing where or with whom and without a set curfew

What to do:

  • Set the age limit for consumption
  • Offer to pick them up for parties or give them money for a cab
  • Set curfews
  • Discuss risks involved with alcohol
  • Know the names of your teen’s friends and their parents
  • Make your home an inviting place for your teen and friends to spend time

Cannabis is a commonly used drug in Lebanon. A first encounter does not immediately make the consumer an addict. However, the use of this substance should not be belittled or encouraged. Temptation or peer-pressure to try cannabis is likely to surround your teen in any environment away from home. Talk about drugs with your teen and their friends without making judgments. Prepare your responses in order to refute their arguments, which may include: “it is not toxic or addictive, it’s less dangerous that alcohol and cigarettes, and I can control it”. Try to focus on the downsides of cannabis that are not often discussed.

- Cannabis can disrupt your concentration, attention and memory.

- It can slow down thinking and reactions and hence increase risks of road accidents

- Cannabis can increase anxiety, nervousness, and paranoia

- Cannabis smokers are likely to have lung and throat problems including coughing, increased frequency of infection, reduced lung capacity, and cancer

- Smoking cannabis regularly can decrease short-term memory and ability to learn new things, especially amongst younger smokers

- Regular smoking can lead to psychological addiction - Solitary and daily consumption is immediate cause for concern

- Isolation and withdrawal

- Excessive curfew breaking

- Being overly secretive about whereabouts and friends

- Overspending or continuous need for more money

- Persistent lying

- Physical symptoms with no medical cause: diarrhea, vomiting, pain the joints, runny nose, weight loss or gain

- Too much or too little sleep

- Depression - Irritability

- Lethargy after parties

- Demotivation

- Difficulty concentrating

- Loss of interest in hobbies and activities

- Change in friends

- Drop in grades

- Mood swings

- Presence of drug accessories or paraphernalia Please note that some of these symptoms can be due to other social reasons such as growing up, dealing with transitions (divorce, changing homes, etc), or presence of a mental disorder.

- Find the right time and place to talk: establish a series of conversations about the issue and accept that your first intervention will not solve the problem. Have the conversation when you are calm, and your teen is ready. Choose a quiet environment to aid the discussion as you speak clearly and calmly about the issues and your own thoughts and feelings.

- Set a desired outcome for your conversation:

- Prepare yourself for any reaction: Be willing to listen to what is said without interrupting even if it is painful to hear.

- Come from a place of care and concern, not anger or blame: Your concern should not be about punishing bad behavior. Try to suspend your judgment. Focus on the behavior, and not the person. Usually, it is more helpful to focus on the underlying problem than to place blame.

- Reach out to professionals: Seek help from a school counselor, psychotherapist, mental health professional, addiction counselor, or addiction treatment centers. They can help you and your child identify and discuss the issues behind the drug use. You can also seek help at Skoun.

There are some risks that you or your teen may not be aware of:

- Drug use compromises judgment, which may lead to engagement in dangerous behaviors with negative consequences. Examples include acquiring a sexually transmitted disease or road accidents.

- Drug use can have psychological effects including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, or changes in personality. It can also affect the person’s ability to be productive, or lead a good-quality emotional, professional, and social life.

- All drugs can be addictive, including alcohol and cannabis when consumed regularly.

Nargileh smoking among the youth in Lebanon is alarming with 24% of adolescents ages 13 to 15 smoking at least one head of Nargileh at least once a week while 18% of adolescents ages 13 to 15 smoke Nargileh frequently. Nargileh is now considered a global epidemic and issue as it is addictive and can lead to lung diseases, especially amongst children who inhale the smoke second-hand. Many people wrongly believe that the water present in the pipes can act as a filter and remove toxins. Nargileh remains as toxic as cigarettes. Some common effects of Nargileh smoking include:

- Lung cancer

- Respiratory illnesses

- Impaired pulmonary functions

- Low birth weight