House Rules with Drugs, Alcohol & Sex
How do you set house rules regarding things like drugs, alcohol and sex? Through open communication! I asked my kids aged 10, 8 and 6, ‘what do you think our family rules should be about drugs, alcohol and sex?’ I did not suggest, help or prompt them. They came up with the following three rules:
- No alcohol until you’re 18
- No drugs unless prescribed by a doctor
- No sex until you’re married
Here are some of my tips for how I got to this point:
1.Be one step ahead of the game
Educate yourself on the next stage of your child’s development emotionally and physically using parenting books and parenting DVDs from the library. For example, when I was pregnant, I read books about how to care for babies. Now that I have primary school aged children, I’m learning about how to care for teenagers. Have ongoing conversations about family rules before your kids are teenagers. Be one step ahead!
2.If you’re time poor, listen to parenting audio books while driving in the car
Another way to educate yourself is by listening to parenting audiobooks. I recently listened to ‘The Princess Bitchface Syndrome’ by Michael Carr-Gregg audiobook, which is about the challenges of raising adolescent girls. I’m now informed of what is ahead, and understand WHY my daughter may behave the way she does and am empowered with knowledge of what to do.
3.Keep the communication lines open with your kids
At the end of 'The Princess Bitchface Syndrome' audiobook is a quiz, to find out how much you know about the effects of drugs and alcohol, which I played to my kids. There were questions from real life scenarios, with multiple choice answers. After we listened to it, we discussed the answers, e.g. ‘Wow, did you guys know that you could die at a party from drinking too much alcohol from alcohol poisoning?’ They were shocked and said, ‘No we didn’t know you could actually die from it!’ Another way to keep communication lines open is to make time each day to listen to your kids about things that bother them, even seemingly minor things, because it isn't minor to them, it is important. As they get older, the little things will become big things, so make a habit of listening well, early on!
4.Come up with house rules together
'The Princess Bitchface Syndrome' audiobook said that house rules should reflect your family values, and are effective when parents and children decide on them together. I asked my kids what they thought the house rules should be, and why. They came up with the following answers:
- No alcohol until 18- because your brains are still developing and you don't want to damage your brains.
- No drugs unless prescribed by a doctor- street drugs are addictive and dangerous because you don’t know who is making them or what they put in them.
- No sex until marriage- because you could get STDs or make a baby before you're ready.
I then explained to my kids that there would be a lot of peer pressure in their teenage years and that most of their teenage friends would experiment with drinking, drugs and/or sex, but the negative consequences would inevitably set in. Now these answers from my kids are absolutely adorable, and perhaps to some they may appear to be unrealistic. However, I believe that it is my job as a parent to set the bar. Build values in to your kids before they become teenagers. If you don't teach them what to value, they will learn what to value from their friends at school or learn shallow morals from celebrities. Give them support, encouragement, and accountability at home. I also give my kids a 'values' gold ring to wear as they enter double digits, to remind them of their values and of how valuable they are to me.
This is not about setting impossible goals or inflicting judgement or guilt. I can’t force my kids to do anything, and they know once they are out of my house they can do whatever they want. But as a parent it is my job to teach them values and how to make wise decisions, rather than being a sheep and doing something because everyone else is doing it!!
To recap, remember to:
- Stay one step ahead of the game by educating yourself
- Listen to parenting audio books and do the Princess Bitchface Quiz with your kids
- Keep the communication lines open with your kids by listening well and being emotionally available
- Together, come up with the house rules regarding alcohol, drugs and sex
- Take care of yourself because a happy parent means happy kids
I believe that when we parent our kids well, that we are sowing seeds that will impact generations for good! We can change the world everyday by proactively being the parents our kids deserve!
'What can you do to promote world peace? Go home and love your family.' Mother Teresa