Single Parents: Teaching Your Latchkey Kids To "Just Say No"

29 September 2014
 Categories: Law, Articles


Raising children is a joyous, yet difficult task. That task often becomes harder when you are a single parent. Not only do you have to take on the role of raising your child on your own, you may also find yourself needing to work more than one job to make ends meet. Unfortunately, your latchkey child is now prone to certain misbehaviors, including drug use. Fortunately, there are ways to encourage your child to just say no.

The Importance of Image

By the time your child reaches approximately 11-years-old, the days of choosing your child's clothing come to an end. Your child develops a sense of independence, meaning their image becomes an important aspect of their life. Your child begins to understand what it means to dress well and look nice before going to school.

Fortunately, you can use your child's keen sense of imagery importance to your benefit. For example, you can explain to your child that smoking cigarettes or marijuana can ruin their image. The smoke from tobacco and marijuana often lingers in the hair and on clothes, creating a noticeable stink. Furthermore, smoking often stains the teeth, giving them a yellowish tint.

You can explain these issues to your child in a way that helps them understand that abusing drugs such as tobacco and marijuana can ruin their image. Let your child know that while using drugs may seem like a "cool" choice, it can cause significant social and imagery problems for them as they get older. Use all of that information to encourage your child to say no if their peers ask them to do drugs.

Health and Recreational Differences

For older latchkey children, particularly those in high school, they are most likely aware of the numerous legal debates surrounding the legalization of marijuana. Just about every newscast, social media site and video channel has some reference to marijuana legalization. At this point, your child is hearing rumors that marijuana may help individuals with significant health problems.

Unfortunately, all of the debates may cause confusion for your child. Your child may eventually come to believe that marijuana is good. It is important that you are open and honest with your child about the difference between marijuana used for health and recreational purposes. Explain to your child that when used recreationally, marijuana may prove to be a gateway drug.

It is best to provide your child with solid facts in order to drive the point home. For example, approximately 99% of cocaine users started out with gateway drugs such as marijuana. Eventually, marijuana smokers build up a tolerance to the drug, and since it no longer works for them, they seek out something with a more powerful (and dangerous) effect. Let your child know that recreational drug abuse is a slippery slope that can lead to serious addictions, legal trouble and poor health.

Unwanted Legal Trouble

Since you are not home as often as you'd like to be, it is important to maintain a positive and encouraging attitude as often as you can. Make sure you encourage your child to do well in school and show a genuine interest in your child's school work and social life. Children who have parents that take an active role in their lives are less likely to abuse drugs than their peers.

However, if you should discover that your child is abusing drugs, it is not too late to get them help and teach them how to say no. Perhaps your child landed in legal trouble after getting caught carrying, buying or selling drugs on school grounds. Rather than lose your temper, there are a few things you can do. First, you will need to talk to your child to find out the reason behind the drug abuse. If talking to your child proves difficult, you may want to consider family counseling.

Next, you will need to get in touch with a drug lawyer near you. A drug lawyer can assist you in reducing the charges against your child. Talk to a lawyer about what steps you might be able to take to assist your child with recovery. Many lawyers see a number of cases come and go day in and day out. Fortunately, that experience will allow the lawyer, like those at, to assist you in dealing with your latchkey child so you can both reach a successful and healthy outcome.