Parenting concerns change with time and circumstances. Obviously if we are in a period of war or scarcity, what will worry us the most will be to be able to feed our children. If they are sick, it will help them to heal.
But, in calmer situations, parents worry about those issues that alert society as a whole, such as addictions in the current era. The Uruguayan author Tato López in the book "The Untold About Addiction", explains in depth what addictions are about, and above all, how to prevent them in childhood.
To begin, he explains that we must consider addiction to be a disease "because it disrupts the mental, physical and emotional well-being of the person" and not as an ethical or moral fault. Then he explains that the disease is installed in those people in whom at least one of the four factors that he describes manifests:
1. Genetic aspects.
There are people more predisposed than others to addictive behaviors. If a person is predisposed, but a stressor that triggers the disease never appears, it can remain dormant for life, as with many other diseases. On the other hand, if you are predisposed and start to use substances, the addiction sets in. On the other hand, another person can consume and never become addicted. That moment is known as "gene ignition." That latent gene "turns on", begins to manifest itself and the person becomes an addict. We could say that this is almost the only aspect in which parents today cannot intervene, since we cannot (yet) manipulate the genes of our children.
There are personalities that favor the awakening of an addiction more than others. López explains that “For genetics to manifest itself in this sense, it must be accompanied by an egocentric, hypersensitive, impulsive, extremist, manipulative personality, with a low tolerance for frustration, which usually has problems with limits and authority, which as a result of his low self-esteem he usually shows pride and that he has a compulsive behavior and an obsessive mental pattern ”.
But these factors are not necessarily all together and can of course be present to varying degrees. That is why it is so important to help shape children's personalities in the early years. Beyond the temperament with which each one is born, parents as positive health agents must, among other things, teach them to tolerate frustrations and reinforce their self-esteem.
Not everyone is presented with the opportunity to consume, although in the modern Western world we would say that it is unlikely that there are no circumstances in which someone offers our children alcohol, cigarettes or drugs. Parents must prepare them to surround themselves with healthy people and teach them from children that they can say NO when someone offers them.
4. Social relationships.
This point is key, because as López explains, the previous three are not enough for the addiction to set in. A suitable family, personal, community and social environment is necessary to establish oneself. Our children will surely try alcohol and cigarettes or drugs at some point, but that will not make them addicted. A person who belongs to a functional family has less chance of becoming addicted. And what is a functional family like? One in which the parents or caregivers meet the affective, normative and nutritional needs in a sufficient and balanced way. But above all, there is no one who acts as a co-dependent.
This word is key in the framework established by Tato López, who maintains that children who are overprotected and without limits end up being dependent on the adults who raise them. The adult thus becomes a co-dependent.
When he is young, that adult lives according to the child, to satisfy all his desires and whims and if in adolescence or youth that boy begins to consume “The codependent is all the time pending on him. It is his shadow ”. It is likely that this co-dependent will have a hard time assuming and seeing that the young person is addicted, he will justify it, say that he only smokes or drinks very occasionally and inadvertently continues to protect him.
"The relationship has the dynamics of a vicious circle: the co rescues the addict, then pursues him with exacerbated control, and since the addict does not respond to what he expects, he becomes victimized." Therefore, prevention begins from childhood, generating healthy family relationships, where each one fulfills their role, in the case of parents, of affection and authority at the same time and where clear limits are established that help shape a strong personality. assertive and resilient.
You can read more articles similar to How to prevent future addictions from childhood, in the category of On-site Education.