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How to Protect Your Children (biblical tips)

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How to Protect Your Children (biblical tips)

Post by Oppa on Sat 28 Jan 2017, 8:01 am

“Parents are by far the most important factor in protecting
children from substance abuse. They must be a source of
example and information for their children.”—DONNA SHALALA,
SECRETARY OF THE U.S. DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND HUMAN
SERVICES.
AS A PARENT, you are thus the first line of defense in the war
against drug abuse. Unfortunately, not all parents may grasp how
important that role is. “My father was always busy,” recalls Ireneu,
a Brazilian youth. “He had only short conversations with us. We
never received any counsel about drugs.”
By way of contrast, consider what Alecxandros, another Brazilian
youth, recalls: “When there were TV programs about drug
addicts, my father called my brothers and me into the room to
watch them. He showed us the terrible condition the addicts were
in because of their drug abuse. Sometimes he would take
advantage of the occasion to ask us whether we had seen other
youths in school who were involved with drugs. That way he
warned us about the risks of drug abuse.”
Have you discussed the risks of drugs with your children? To do
so, you may need to educate yourself in this regard. Christian
parents can help their children to appreciate that using illicit drugs
damages them spiritually. The Bible urges us to keep our body
clean of all pollution, both physical and spiritual. ( 2 Corinthians 7:1)
A regular study of the Bible with one’s children can be a powerful
tool for protecting them. *
“Confidential Friend”
It is also important that you establish a relationship of trust with
your children. Jehovah is a “confidential friend” to his earthly
children. ( Jeremiah 3:4) Are you a confidential friend to your child?
Do you really listen to your child? Does your child feel comfortable
in bringing problems to you? Are you quicker to condemn than to
praise? Take the time to get to know your child. Does he or she
have friends? Who are they? After all, the Bible warns: “Bad
associations spoil useful habits.” ( 1 Corinthians 15:33) Do not be
afraid to set firm boundaries or to render loving discipline. The
Bible says: “Chastise your son and he will bring you rest and give
much pleasure to your soul.”— Proverbs 29:17.
Furthermore, do not minimize the dangers facing your child.
Some parents may complacently reason that because their
children come from a well-respected family, they are simply not
the type to get involved with drugs. But explains Dr. José
Henrique Silveira: “The drug dealer likes to make friends with kids
of influential people because it is good business for him.” Yes, if a
well-respected youth can be lured into drug use, other young
ones may often follow.
So be realistic. Get to know some of the early signs of
involvement with drugs. For example, has your child suddenly
become withdrawn, depressed, hostile, or uncooperative? Has he
or she inexplicably withdrawn from old friends or from family
members? Then you may have cause for concern.
Sad to say, in spite of commendable efforts on the part of parents,
some young ones still succumb to pressure and experiment with
drugs. What should you do if this proves true of your child?
When a Youth Uses Drugs
“When my parents discovered it,” says Ireneu, “my brother had
been using drugs for several months. Because they never thought
that one of their children could one day become a drug addict,
their initial reaction was panic. At first, my father could only think
of using brute force to punish my brother.”
Upon discovering that a child is using drugs, parents’ first reaction
may very well be anger, frustration, and a sense of failure.
However, a fact sheet put out by the U.S. Department of
Education advises: “Don’t panic! And don’t blame yourself. The
important thing right now is to stay calm [and] find out what’s
going on. . . . Drug use is a preventable behavior. Drug addiction
is a treatable disease.”
Yes, be kind and firm so that the situation does not get worse.
Your becoming overly angry or frustrated may hinder your
child’s recovery. Also, you want to help your child to grow up to
become a responsible adult who thinks for himself. Hence, take
the needed time to reason honestly with the youth to help him see
the benefits of being drug-free. Try to draw up what is in the
wayward child’s heart, and be willing to listen.—Proverbs 20:5.
Ireneu further recalls: “Later, my parents changed tactics and
began to counsel my brother, setting limits on where he could go,
changing his classes so as to avoid his meeting the same
schoolmates every day. They began to control his associations
and to give him and the rest of the family more attention.”
Consider how some other parents have successfully intervened
when they discovered that their children were using drugs.
Successful Interventions
“It is the worst thing that has happened to us,” explains Marcelo, a
man who lives in São Paulo, Brazil. “My wife and I had not noticed
anything strange in the conduct of our two young sons.
Frequently, they ate out at restaurants with a group of other
young people we thought we knew well. It was devastating when
a friend told us that our two boys were using marijuana.
However, upon being asked, they immediately admitted that they
were.”
How did Marcelo deal with his sons’ actions? “My wife and I could
not hide our distress,” he admits. “But while we condemned their
drug abuse, we did not question their worth as individuals. We
agreed that our goal from then on would be to help our sons to
recover from drug abuse. We talked openly about our intentions,
and both sons accepted our terms. They would continue their
studies at school and would continue to work. They would not go
out alone anymore. We demonstrated our love for them daily,
not only on special occasions. Since I work as a builder, I took
them along with me as often as I could. We began to have more
fun, spending more time in talking about the future and the need
to have worthwhile goals in life.” Marcelo and his wife were thus
able to help their sons break free from drug abuse.
Consider the experience of yet another Brazilian father. Recalls his
son Roberto: “When my father discovered that my brother was
abusing drugs, instead of harshly criticizing or disciplining him,
Father showed himself to be a friend and gained my brother’s
confidence. He got to know my brother’s friends and the places
that he frequented, and he began to reason with my brother that
he neither needed drugs nor such friends. Father told him that he
did not want to spend sleepless nights searching for him.” In an
attempt to recover the troubled youth, his stepmother gave full
support to her husband. Both agreed that they had no time to lose
and decided to help him at home.—See the box “Getting Help.”
Do Not Give Up!
Raising a family in these “critical times hard to deal with” can be
exhausting and challenging. ( 2 Timothy 3:1) Yet, you should never
neglect your own emotional and spiritual needs. (Matthew 5:3)
How true are the words of Proverbs 24:10: “Have you shown
yourself discouraged in the day of distress? Your power will be
scanty.” Much strength can be gained by associating with true
Christians. At meetings at the Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s
Witnesses, you can find support and encouragement.— Hebrews
10:24, 25.
Really, teaching your family to have faith in God can be your best
defense against drug abuse. Of course, God does not force
youths to follow a certain course of life. But he does offer sound
advice. As recorded at Psalm 32:8, God says: “I shall make you
have insight and instruct you in the way you should go. I will give
advice with my eye upon you.” As a loving heavenly Father, God
wants to protect young ones from emotional, physical, and
spiritual ruin. ( Proverbs 2:10-12) Be assured that God will also help
and support parents who are determined to raise their children “in
the discipline and mental-regulating of Jehovah.”— Ephesians 6:4.
Even so, the pressure of raising children in today’s environment
can be overwhelming at times. Is there any relief in sight?
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Oppa
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