Do you REALLY know what your kids are doing? You've heard that hidden dangers lurk everywhere, but do you believe that your child could be in danger from something as common as a Gummy Bear?
You think your children are safe, because you monitor their indoor activities and place locks on your computers and gaming devices, but you need to educate yourself about the many new and seemingly innocuous dangers that could not only harm your children, but also kill them.
Though you might believe yourself to be involved with your children, please notice if their actions are in conflict with previous actions they have taken. Don't blame changes on their age. Some parents are completely oblivious to their children's activities, and they make excuses for bad behavior by saying, "They're just being teenagers."
But are they? Have you noticed that some of their behaviors and comments cause your head to cock slightly and your eyebrows to furrow? Pay attention to times you say to yourself, "Hmm, that's unusual" or, "That doesn't make sense."
Because you might notice bizarre things such as purchasing more vanilla extract than you would normally buy. Did you know that the alcohol content in vanilla extract can cause your child to become high if he or she drinks enough?
Have you ever thought cinnamon or nutmeg could be dangerous? Do you seem to be using more spices than you thought you were using? If those spices are missing from your cabinet, you might have a problem. Snorting cinnamon causes a high. Cinnamon powder inhaled into the lungs can cause coughing spasms so severe, your child could die. Snorting nutmeg causes hallucinations and could be very frightening to a child. Educate yourself on the effects of snorting household products.
Gummy Bears soaked in alcohol can cause a kid to feel drunk. You might be asking, "Who comes up with these ideas?" Some kids (and adults) are willing to try anything and everything to get a buzz. They post their findings on the Internet. So you need to monitor your children closely. Maintain a good relationship with them. Allow them to feel comfortable telling you anything and don't judge them when they try to communicate with you.
Let your kids know that friends don't ask friends to do something that makes them feel uncomfortable. Talk to your kids about their friends and tell your children that if someone asks them to do something that sounds stupid, silly, or weird, don't do it! If they feel pressure from friends, they need to redefine – with your help – the term, "friend." Friends support and encourage each other to BE themselves. They don't force actions or beliefs on each other.
If you suspect unusual drug activity, contact USA.gov's Drug Enforcement Administration. Agency contact information is listed in the link.
Above all, protect your children by staying involved in their lives. Let them know – without a doubt – that you love them and that if anything happens to them, you'll be there for them.
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