24 Apr Make Your Child Addiction Resistant
There is a surprising way to strengthen your child’s resistance to addiction – take consistent family vacations. They don’t have to be elaborate and expensive vacations either. But the vacations do need to be yearly and they need to put your family together for at least a week.
Jeff Murdock, family therapist at West Ridge Academy, tells us that developing a resistance to drug addiction begins at home and that preventing addiction is far easier than curing it. Research points to the importance of the “family system” and that system is enhanced and built through consistent interaction, the kind of positive interaction that can occur in a well-planned and executed family vacation.
The keys to an effective family vacation include:
1. Adventure. Having new experiences together that are unique to your family, makes for good bonding. Because vacations break our normal routine, we remember them. These memories make for good family time later as we reminisce.
2. Vulnerability. As we travel and go outside of our homes, we still have to find food, shelter, and take care of our basic needs. Families rely on each other to meet needs. This plays on a primal social response to work with others, thus causing your family to work together.
3. Closeness. When on vacation, you spend time together as a family, a lot of it. Especially when you travel. You have opportunities to work together that you get in no other way.
4. Fun. Let’s face it. There is something about having a good time together. We build memories, take pictures, and play together. It’s probably good for the parents to relax and play with their children as well.
5. Tradition. Many family vacations start new traditions or renew old traditions. There is a nostalgia which we create. We begin to connect places and events with family, creating a family identity. This identity gets adopted by our children in a way that they begin to internalize. This helps them gain a sense of belonging which is essential for self-esteem.[i]
Most families enjoy their vacations, but few understand their critical nature. With this new perspective, it’s time to start planning – right now – for this summer’s vacation.
[i] Jeff Murdock, “Five Ways to Help Children Avoid Addiction.”