Jada Pinkett-Smith Reveals Something All Parents Should Know

                Last week, Jada Pinkett-Smith, extremely successful actress and wife of Will Smith, wrote a very poignant post on Facebook upon turning 42. She talks a bit about her life to this point, commenting on a series of addictions she’s had to push through.  Smith never mentions exactly what addictions and frankly, if she chooses not to share, it’s none of our business.  But she makes a very salient point in her post that all parents should be aware, especially when it comes to understanding their kids.

                “What I learned about myself is this, when I was younger I was not a good problem solver, meaning I had a very difficult time with dealing with my problems in life. I had many addictions, of several kinds, to deal with my life issues, but today…I have my wisdom, my heart and my conscience as the only tools to overcome life's inevitable obstacles.”

                Smith’s statement brings up the question of why exactly it is people fall into addiction.  It is important for parents to understand exactly what the reasoning behind the issue is so they can have more informed communication with their kids.

                                     

                                     Image credit: oldschool945.com

                According to the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey’s 2012 Parent Tracking Survey, nearly two-thirds of parents said they think the reason kids do drugs is to look cool.  But how does this stack up against what kids think? According to a survey done in 2010 by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, now the Partnership at Drugfree.org, nearly 8 in 10 students said the reason they turn to drugs is to deal with stress at school and home.  Only 54% of parents look at this as a reason.

                This means that kids and parents are missing each other when it comes to communicating about substance abuse. It means that when your child says that you don’t understand, statistically speaking, they could very well be right.  It could very well be that the issues with problem solving that Jada Pinkett-Smith is referring to is dealing with stress in a healthy and constructive manner, which might have led to the addictions she is referring to.

                Every child needs to mature on their own eventually. This is not a process that we, as parents, can force. But we can foster it. We can encourage them to make good, healthy decisions when dealing with stress. We can encourage them to speak their mind when something is bothering them. We can do this by keeping open the lines of communication and staying involved in what our kids are doing at school and in extracurricular activities.  These simple steps will keep your kids on the path to a healthy lifestyle as their find their way.

 

 

Those who watched the Emmy's last Sunday, saw a moving tribute to Cory Monteith, the Glee actor who succumbed to substance abuse earlier this year. We posted a blog about Monteith's passing and the lessons parents can take away from it. You can read it here.

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