There are many reasons people turn to drugs. Oftentimes users are unhappy with something in their lives, or unsatisfied with themselves. Drugs and alcohol are ways to self-medicate negative emotions or situations, and bullying is one common source of drug addiction.
For example, Kelly Osbourne told Entertainment Magazine that she was teased for being overweight as a young girl, which devastated her self image. She took prescription pills and soon became addicted to Vicodin before entering treatment and achieving recovery.
Bullying is a major problem in today’s schools, and many news stories continue to report on cases of teasing, bullying and violence. Someone who is constantly teased can have such a poor view of themselves that they don’t believe a normal life is possible. Behavioral issues, such as depression and anxiety, can develop as a result of bullying, as can substance abuse. Even though bullying victims may know drug addiction is wrong and harmful, it numbs the pain, albeit temporarily. Unfortunately, drug addiction may soon take control, causing an even bigger problem.
As parents, our priority should be to help our kids develop a healthy self-esteem. Here are some ways we can do this:
Discover and build upon their strengths. If an activity is simply not your child’s thing, let them try something else that’s better suited for their interests and abilities.
Praise them. Tell them what you like about them, and help them draw out their positive attributes. That way, if and when someone does criticize them for something, they can fall back on and take pride in the things they know they do well.
Get involved. Parents shouldn’t be afraid to get involved if they know someone is being a bully. School officials or even the police should be made aware of a bully situation, and parents should make sure their child is not the one bullying.
Talk about it. Teens actually do listen to their parents’ advice and sometimes even appreciate the kind words from mom or dad. Be the positive influence and the good role model for your kids. Teach them to be happy with who they are and to not take other students’ comments personally. Also, teach them about the dangers of drugs and help them develop healthy ways to cope with disappointment or criticism.