Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Rehabs and Kids

It seems like the norm now for young celebrities. Everyone is checking in a drug rehab and it has become so common, one would think it's similar to a trip to the dentist.

And where celebrities go, our teeners are wont to follow. So how do we help them escape the clutches of an alcohol rehab?

It may sound old but the following tips have been tried and tested, despite whatever cultural and technological changes we have gone through:

1) Eat family dinners with them. Such dinners allow parents to keep their kids posted as to what happened to them that day and vice versa. The conversations may sound mundane and trivial but it allows children to practice communicating with their parents. Plus, its a family ritual that cannot help but give kids a sense of belongingness, even in those times that he may hate his family or circumstance.

2) Give them responsibilities. Give them chores. Let them know that their tuition and hobbies take away from the family budget. Demand that they watch for their brother's/sister's back and that its their duty to preserve and protect the family honor. The chores will keep them busy and the other things will teach them about consideration. They have to know that what they do and don't do affects the family. Of course, it goes without saying not to overdo things. You want to teach them that they're part of the family and must contribute to it, and not to grow up without having a sense of self.

3) Limit guests. There's play time and then there are other times. And guests can mean actual people who may take your kids away from doing their chores or pouring over their assignments but guests can also mean whatever form of media, sports or hobby they're into. Sure, your kids can pursue their hobbies as much as they want, but never at the expense of family time and traditions, and certainly never at the expense of their health (proper diet and rest). Besides, too much media for the very young (think TV and computer games and the internet, especially if unsupervised) is inviting commercialism and superficialism into your home.

4) Take trips with them. Trips can mean a trip to the grocery, where you can teach them about budgeting money and buying quality products without shoving it down their throats. Or a trip to the zoo for some environmental and cause-effect talk. Or out-of-town to bond over traffic and cramped quarters. Or abroad to immerse yourselves in a different culture. Travel brings out the best and worst in someone, and doing it together can be stressful... but it's the good kind of stress.

5) Say NO and delay their gratification. Kids, especially nowadays, have things more easily, literally. But this has just resulted in them getting bored all the more easily too. Make them work for privileges. Make them earn their desserts. Not only will they savor those more (be it an Ipod or an extended curfew), but you'd also be providing one more opportunity for them to actually take control of things they can control.

6) Be an example. You can't teach your kids not to smoke if they see you doing it. You can't teach them about bravery and self-respect and earning your keep and living a life of integrity if you don't live it yourself. Be the person you hope they'd want to become.

7) LAMBILOS. In Filipino, its an acronym for three things: lambing (sweetness, gentleness and thoughtfulness), biro (humor) and haplos (touch and/or connect). Supposedly, it not only expedites recovery from medical illnesses, it also facilitates other forms of healing (say, emotionally). Basically, be gentle and considerate, laugh at anything and everything where appropriate and always touch/connect with your child (in the form of actual hugs and kisses, as well as pats on the back or written notes or everyday text messages)... and the chances of him/them being led astray will be pretty slim.

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