Latchkey kids and drug abuse
Approximately seven and a half million kids between the ages of 5 and 14 in the United States are latchkey kids. In today’s economy it’s a situation that can’t be helped as both parents or single parents must work full time to provide for their families.
Studies show that children left alone after school have a ten percent greater chance of trying drugs, alcohol and cigarettes compared to those who are involved in supervised activities. How can you protect your child?
· Involve your children in sports, youth groups and other adult supervised, after school activities. If your child must be alone, make sure he’s busy with homework and chores instead of hanging out with friends.
· Know who, what, where and when. Check up on your kids. A cell phone that is only to be used for this purpose can sometimes be effective in keeping track of your child’s whereabouts.
· Ask children to call home or at your place of work at regular intervals whenever possible.
· Spend whatever available time you have left in meaningful pursuits or conversations with your kids. Make them a priority, even if you get home late and feel tired.
· Keep the computer in an open area with little privacy. Always know what activities your child is involved with online. Monitor their television viewing habits.
· Talk to your kids about drugs. If you don’t, somebody else will and that somebody may be the person who introduces your child to drug use.
· Enlist the help of a friendly neighbor or friend who doesn’t mind popping in to check on your child when he’s home alone.
Careful planning along with good communication about your expectations will go a long way in protecting your children from becoming victims of drug use and addiction.
If you have questions about questionable behavior your child is displaying please call one of our drug and alcohol professionals.