Parent Success Tip: 2 Steps to Drug Free Kids

Parenting is a tough job.  Every parent wants to raise successful, healthy kids but there are so many challenges.  And now, as states begin legalizing marijuana, our children are faced with even moreshutterstock_29603572 pressures that make staying drug-free, alcohol-free, and tobacco-free harder.

The good news is that new research shows that two simple parenting strategies can help you raise kids who are much more likely to stay clean and sober.

1.  Don’t Play Favorites.

The study showed that kids who felt that they were less favored by their parents than a sibling were about twice as likely as the favorite child to use drugs, alcohol and cigarettes.  Researchers encourage parents to go the extra mile to spend time with the child they have more difficulty getting along with.  Putting more energy into your relationship with your harder-to-relate-to child can help you build the rapport you need to guide your child to a healthy adulthood.  Remember, God gives us the kids we need, the kids who have the best chance of making us change and grow the way God needs us to.  If you have a child who is harder for you to get along with, put the extra time in and welcome the growth that comes.

2.  Engage

The study also found that there was an even greater  likelihood that the less-favored child would abuse drugs, alcohol, or tobacco when the family, itself,  was considered “disengaged.”   Family life has to be more than a collection of individuals living under the same roof and sharing a data plan.  Make sure you are taking the time as parents to create rituals of connection; regularly scheduled appointments for your family to gather for work, play, meaningful talk, and prayer.  The more you create and nurture these daily and weekly rituals of connection, the more engaged and healthy your family will be!   Establishing family rituals helps you claim your place as the “domestic church” and allows God’s grace to flow more freely in your family life as you take regular time to learn about the gift God is giving you through each other.

Taken together, avoiding favoritism and increasing family connection through rituals can help give your kids the extra boost they need to resist a host of evils, including drug and alcohol use.

For more tips on raising great, healthy, godly kids, check out Parenting with Grace:  The Catholic Parents’ Guide to Raising (almost) Perfect Kids.

Long Term Help for Those in Recovery

Recovering from addictions is a painful process.  It isn’t unusual for a serious addict to have to go through a treatment program 3 or more times before they can maintain sobriety.  One of the biggest challenges of recovery is changing your life and your social network after you get out of treatment.  If the addict keeps the same friends or stays in the same environment post recovery as he or she did before seeking help, there are just too many temptations.

Comunita Cenacolo (Community of the Cenacle) is a Catholic program designed to assist those who desire to live a life free of addictions.  It is not so much a treatment program as an opportunity to rebuild one’s life centered around God, service, and healthy friendships.  The Community requires a minimum 3 year commitment and offers support to both the addict and their parents.  They accept men 18-40 and women 18-30.  From their website:

…founded in Italy in 1983 by a dynamic, vibrant, and faith-filled religious sister named Elvira Petrozzi.  Mother Elvira felt certain that God was calling her to serve the poor of the modern world: disillusioned young men and women who live in desperation and hopelessness, convinced that life has no meaning or value. Unable to find peace or joy in their lives, they seek to fill the emptiness with the illusory pleasures of the world, only to find themselves steeped in an intense interior isolation.

Trusting unwaveringly in the direction of the Holy Spirit, Mother Elvira proclaims to all those who live in darkness that only Jesus Christ can heal and transform their shattered lives, changing despair into hope, sadness into joy, hatred into forgiveness, and death into life.

Our Way of Life

To everyone we welcome, we propose a simple, disciplined, family style of life, based on the rediscovery of the essential gifts of prayer and work (”ora et labora”), true friendship, sacrifice, and faith in Jesus.   The spirituality of the Community is profoundly Eucharistic and Marian.  The day is structured around times of prayer (Eucharistic Adoration, the Liturgy of the Hours, the Rosary), work, deep sharing about one’s own life in the light of the Word of God, recreation, and times of celebration.  We believe that the Christian life in its simplicity and fullness is the true answer to every restlessness in the human heart and that, in the living encounter with God’s Mercy, man is reborn into hope and is freed from the chains that have enslaved him, thus rediscovering the joy of loving.

If you or someone you love is struggling with addictions of any kind, check out Comunita Cenacolo. It’s a unique resource that can make a profound difference.