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Parenting Not Programs Best Help Kids Avoid Substance Abuse

Source: White Dove Communications
2006-08-03 — W.D.C. News

(AgapePress) – A Christian psychiatrist says parents, not government programs, need to be the ones helping children learn the lessons and life skills that can keep them from getting involved with drugs and alcohol.

A recent study reported in the current issue of the journal Child Development says children’s behavior as early as the age of three can predict how likely they are to use alcohol and illicit drugs later. According to the study, those children who exhibited less self-control were more prone to start drinking and using drugs.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Maria Wong, says those risky behaviors could be averted if programs were in place to work with youngsters at an early age. But Dr. Karl Benzio, a spokesman for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations, says parents should be the ones teaching their kids self control.

“When you have a child,” Benzio observes, “there’s tremendous responsibility to raise that child up in a certain way, with certain principles and doctrines and understanding.” He believes it is that parenting process that generally predicts a child’s later decision-making.

Mothers and fathers who “train up a child in the way he should go” (Proverbs 22:6), generate “a much better chance and probability of that child being able to walk in those ways,” the Christian psychiatrist contends. He says alcohol and drug use often stem from a lack of coping skills in children, so parents need to teach their children to turn to God.

“What we want to do,” Benzio asserts, “is teach our kids at a very early age how to perceive things from a godly perspective, how to respond with biblical skills.” As children apply these positive skills they have been taught, he says, in most cases their brain chemistry, their psychological growth, and their spiritual growth will be very positive as well.

Mary Rettig, a regular contributor to AgapePress, is a reporter for American Family Radio News, which can be heard online.
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