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Drugs
 
In 2016, the Department of Health confirmed around 3.1 million Australians using illicit drugs. The most commonly abused substances include cannabis, cocaine and ecstasy. Among students aged between 12 to 17 years, cannabis was consumed by around 7% of the test population. This proportion of students using cannabis increased with age. Around 3 % of all students reported having used ecstasy/MDMA at some time in the past year and 1 % indicated they had used ecstasy in the previous month.
Although the percentage of teen drug abusers may seem small contrasting against the entire population, it still goes without saying that being a vigilant parent means doing more for our children at this day and age. Kidshealth.com educates us as to how we could deal with addiction, tells us with warning signals, and ways to get help.

 

Sex Education and Relationships
 
For educating kids about sex or reproduction as well as relationships, you sure do not have to cover everything all at once. Children can digest information one at a time at a given age. An article about what and when children should learn about sex has been written by About Kids Health and suggested some tips regarding this topic: (see https://www.aboutkidshealth.ca/Article?contentid=716&language=English for further information)

 

Infancy: Up to two years
At this point, children are expected to know body parts which include the genitals and can already determine which person is a girl or a boy. Start by slowly discussing such things.
 
Early childhood: Two to five years old
Here, you can now introduce the very basic of reproduction wherein, it takes a man and a woman to make a baby which grows inside mommy’s tummy and things like that. It is also important to teach kids at this age to understand that their body is their own. And of course, privacy.
 
Middle childhood: Five to eight years old
Some basic understanding about sexuality should already be established. They should learn at this age span that some people are homosexual, some are heterosexual, or bisexual and understand that they aren’t different from the other, all are human beings that has feelings in the same way as them and should be taught about respect. At the end of this span, they should know the basics of puberty as some children experience this before the age of 10. Their understanding of reproduction should continue and may include the role of intercourse to produce an offspring.
 
Tween years: Nine to 12 years old
A reinforcement of all the things they have learned through the years should be followed upon. Here, they already must have an idea about what things could be done for a safer sex and is able to differentiate a positive relationship or the otherwise. Media is a big influence within this age span, and curiosity deepens, so they should know whether or not these things they see on the internet is realistic or not, true or false, and positive or negative. Keep guiding them.
 
Teenagers: 13 to 18 years old
At this point, teens become very secretive or private and begin to feel shy. That is why the importance of establishing trust and open communication from both parents and kids in their early years increases the chance for teens to easily be able to open up and be educated as to how they deal with the changes and development they are confronted with.

 

Mental Health and Suicide
 
In addition, keeping your children informed, giving them proper guidance, and keeping a close relationship with them will help them combat life’s adversities. With the rise of many children getting depressed, anxious, sad, and withdrawn, comes the simultaneous rise of suicide rates as well, that has become very alarming and rampant.
CDC's Web-based Injury Statistics Query and Reporting System (WISQRS) has found out on their recent study that in the United States, there were no deaths due to suicide were recorded from age 5 since 2008 to 2014. But these numbers increased to a percentage of 0.03 from ages 5-9 years old and a percentage of 1.48 in ages 10-14-year-olds within that period of time. The main reason why a lot of suicide help and organisations have arise to help children and even adults, fight their battles of depression. Here are some of the Organisations that are present to help people experiencing crisis and suicidal thoughts that might just save lives.
 
Lifeline Australia
Kids Helpline
24/7 crisis lines
Suicide Call Back Service
NSW Mental health Line

 

Lastly, Nelson Mandela once said that "there is no keener revelation of a society's soul than the way in which it treats its children". Again, there is no such thing as too young or too early for us to teach our children with these things. It is high time for us to treat our children with love and openness to cultivate the good in them. If we will be able to produce informed and educated children, then there is no doubt that we will be building a great society where there is peace, freedom, and liberty in the future.

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