Engaging Parents in School Drug Education Programmes

Document Sample
Engaging Parents in School Drug Education Programmes Powered By Docstoc
					FRESH Tools for Effective School Health http://www.unesco.org/education/fresh

First Edition

Engaging Parents in School Drug Education Programmes

Description of tool: This tool discusses the importance of partnerships with the wider community, and especially with parents, to reinforce and expand the reach of school-based efforts to prevent drug use by students. It suggests ways that the school can support parents in their role as primary educators for their children, and involve them in efforts to reduce drug use by young people and the associated harm to individuals and society.

The information in this tool was adapted by UNESCO from the following publication: United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention (UNODC), 2003. School-based Drug Education: A guide for practitioners and the wider community. Vienna: UNODC. Description of document: This manual aims to provide a conceptual basis upon which teachers, policy makers and school administrators can make decisions about the design and delivery of effective school-based drug prevention programmes. In addition to providing guidance on the principles behind effective drug education and practical information about planning, content, teaching methods and evaluation for school drug education programmes, the manual includes sections on managing drug related incidents, counselling and referral for students, and strategies for involving families and the community in drug prevention efforts.

This information or activity supports Core Component #3 of the FRESH framework for effective school health: skills-based health education. It will have a greater impact if it is reinforced by activities in the other three components of the framework.

FRESH Tools for Effective School Health http://www.unesco.org/education/fresh

First Edition

Engaging Parents in School Drug Education Programmes1

Introduction Schools share responsibility for the education and welfare of young people with families and the wider community. The role of parents as primary educators can be recognized and supported by schools by working in partnership with parents. Partnerships with parents and the community help to generate a greater awareness of health issues among students and their families, ensure the integration of consistent and relevant health messages into the home and other community settings, and ultimately, improve student health. Drug education programmes that are planned and implemented in consultation with parents are not only more successful, but also empower parents. Parents often have difficulty discussing drug issues with their children, yet parents are often cited by young people as the most trusted and the preferred source of information about health issues. Schools can assist parents by providing them with information about health and drug issues as part of their whole school approach. Schools working in partnership with parents can reduce some of the anxiety parents experience from the expectation that drug education is their sole responsibility. Outreach to parents can help them develop the knowledge and skills they need to initiate and carry out informed discussion with their children.

Family protective factors The family can play a role in preventing drug use among its members by addressing family-related protective factors, such as:      adequate parent/child communication; solid affectionate relations; a fair distribution of responsibility among family members; good relationships between siblings; and non-use of social or illegal drugs.

I. The role of parents in drug prevention Parents can have a significant influence on the choices their children make with regard to drugs by modelling responsible behaviours concerning drug use, establishing clear family rules, becoming more aware of youth culture, recognizing early signs of drug use, and maintaining communication within the family and with other parents and the school. In addition, parents can help to develop, promote and enforce drug policies at the school and community level, and they play an important role in managing drug incidents in schools.

1

FRESH Tools for Effective School Health http://www.unesco.org/education/fresh

First Edition

Parents are also important because the family is the primary environment in which socialization occurs, and because parental opinion can either reinforce or countermand the messages of drug education programmes. In addition, parents’ opinions contribute to community norms about substance use and community support for drug education. Parents and guardians have a need and a right to know when their children are misusing substances. When a mutually supportive relationship exists between the school and the home, it is more likely that incidents of student drug abuse can be handled in a way that protects the whole school community and seeks the rehabilitation and reintegration of offenders. II. Aims of parent programmes Parent programmes could try to:     give parents a clear understanding of drug use patterns among school age persons; give parents an understanding of the factors that contribute to drug use; assist parents to form a personal perspective on alcohol and drugs based on factual information and to clarify their attitudes and beliefs around alcohol and drug use; and outline effective strategies for parents to use to prevent and cope with drug use by their children.

III. Informing parents Parents and community members need to know that the school:        is a completely smoke free environment; teaches students and staff how to safely dispose of needles, syringes and sharps bins; advocates the safe and responsible use of medicines; prohibits the use or possession of alcohol, tobacco or illicit drugs at school; will take action when information about drug use or possession at school is disclosed; has procedures for managing drug-related incidents; and provides referral and/or counselling for students with drug problems.

IV. Involving parents To involve parents, and the community, schools can:     design pamphlets that answer commonly asked questions; provide families with access to advice and recommend support agencies for assistance with drug-related issues; publicize the school support system and its availability for members of the school community who may be experiencing drug problems; ensure a school environment that encourages any student experiencing drug-related problems to seek help;

2

FRESH Tools for Effective School Health http://www.unesco.org/education/fresh

First Edition

 

offer parents drug information sessions that are accessible to a range of cultural backgrounds and sensitive to differing ability levels; suggest strategies for parents to assist in the prevention of drug use problems, for example by:      modelling responsible use of drugs; discussing the topic of drug use with children; setting clear family rules about drug use; teaching children first aid skills; providing them with a summary of current research that indicates the importance of parental influence on young people and their drug use behaviour; and



encourage parents to develop an authoritative, warm and supportive style of parenting, to express negative attitudes about teenage drug use, to keep in touch with other parents to establish consistent expectations, and to keep up to date on drug-related issues.

1

Adapted from: United Nations Office for Drug Control and Crime Prevention, 2003. School-based Drug Education: A guide for practitioners and the wider community. Vienna: UNODC.

3


				
DOCUMENT INFO