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Building Resilience in Children Aged 9-13: A Most Effective Method of Illicit Drug Use Prevention

#WorldResiliencyDay23 #WorldDrugDay

It is no secret that illicit drug use is a major problem in our society. And the reasons for that are many. However, it is a growing irresilience and a careless drug use normalising ‘adult culture’ that model the very elements that undermine resilience such as poor impulse control, inability to delay gratification, externalizing blame in crises and a general lack of accountability in a ‘party hard’ context. All these are big drivers of this emerging public health crisis in Gen Now. 

Tragically, and disturbingly, many children and young adults are exposed to drugs at an early age, leading to all to quickly to addiction modes and long-term health issues – there is NO level of ‘safe’ drug use for the developing brain – To combat this issue, it is important to focus on prevention rather than treatment. One of the most effective methods of preventing illicit drug use in children aged 9-13 is building resilience.

Resilience is defined as the ability to cope with stress, challenge, tragedy, trauma or adversity without engaging self-harming behaviours for temporary, but ultimately, resiliency undermining ‘relief’. 

It helps children develop key capacities such as the ability to plan, monitor and regulate behaviour which enables them to respond adaptively to difficult situations. Building resilience in children aged 9-13 can help them make better decisions when faced with peer pressure or other difficult situations involving substances.

There are many ways parents and caregivers can help build resilience in their children. 

First and foremost is reinforcing the fact that drug use is ‘bad’, because it is dangerous, physically, psychologically, emotionally and behaviourally. Not only informing those in your care with evidence-based education but modelling that conduct yourselves. No good the ‘do as I say, don’t do as I do’ mantra. The demonstration is a far more powerful ‘educator’ than mere instruction. 

Another vital tool is providing a safe and supportive environment for them to express their feelings. This can help them learn how to manage their emotions more effectively. Encouraging positive self-talk and helping them identify their strengths can also be beneficial for building resilience. Additionally, teaching your child problem solving skills such as brainstorming solutions or seeking out support from trusted adults can help them find constructive ways of dealing with difficult situations involving drugs or alcohol.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has identified several strategies for preventing drug use among young people including creating supportive family environments, strengthening social networks and increasing access to education and employment opportunities. These strategies all involve building resilience in children aged 9-13 so that they have the skills necessary to make healthy decisions when faced with challenges related to drugs or alcohol.

At the Dalgarno Institute we believe that building resilience in children aged 9-13 is one of the most effective methods of preventing illicit drug use. We provide evidence-based programs designed specifically for this age group which focus on developing life skills such as communication, problem solving and decision making which are essential for building resilience. Our programs also emphasise the importance of positive relationships between parents/caregivers and their children as well as between peers so that young people feel supported during times of difficulty or adversity.

Building resilience in children aged 9-13 is an important step towards preventing illicit drug use among young people today. Parents/caregivers should take advantage of available resources such as those provided by the UNODC and Dalgarno Institute so that they can give their children the best chance at success by equipping them with the tools necessary for making healthy decisions when faced with challenging situations involving drugs or alcohol.

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