These days, kids of different ages and sizes are drawn to some ill behaviors that can quickly turn to addiction. Even behaviors that may appear harmless at first may quickly turn to addiction.
So, what’s the message? It’s simple. You need to be on the lookout for behaviors and activities that are beginning to take a lot of your kid’s time or attention. It’s a red signal for possible addiction.
Want to know some of the things that kids can easily become addicted to? Okay, come on this journey with us.
#1: Watching Television
You were probably expecting drug or alcohol to come up as the first one, right? But, do you know that if you are not careful, watching television can turn from being a fun way for kids to spend their extra time to becoming an addiction. I mean, this can happen so quickly!
So, “What’s the solution?” you may ask. Encourage healthy TV habits such as when to watch, the duration and what to watch. Create and enforce a schedule that prevents your kid from going straight to turn on the TV after school, but dedicates the first hours to assignments and reading good books.
Allot very minimal time to TV and insist on what to watch. Do you remember Ben Carson, the author of the best-selling book Gifted Hand? Growing up, he said that his grades and his brother’s changed dramatically from poor to excellent when their mom scheduled and insisted they only watch educational programs.
They will quickly turn off the television once the program is over. It became part of them that they didn’t violate the rules even when their mom (who was a single parent) isn’t around to supervise them.
That sounds cool, right? It’s doable! You just have to enforce some disciplinary measures to make your kids comply.
Here’s another trick to curtail your kids’ obsession with TV. Get a book on the kid’s favorite animal, cartoon or subject, and encourage them to read the book instead of watching the television.
Need another trick? How about promising a reward that appeals to the kid if he or she skips watching the TV for a day or two.
Yes, computer! “But, they are incredibly valuable tools!” Yes, but they can also be addictive if not checked. Nowadays, many kids are addicted to a computer and related gadgets such as smartphones.
And, what’s worse is that kids get trapped with negative things that they are exposed to via computers that are connected to the internet. Such negative exposures include pornography and misleading online dating/friendship.
Do you know how a recent study described computer addiction? “It is just as powerful as drug addiction! Besides, the kid is in potential danger of suffering sight problems down the road as a result of looking at the screen for an extended period of time.
Solution? You can help a kid overcome computer addiction by limiting the use. But, you should devise a better replacement or alternative, so that the kid does not relapse after some time.
This one sounds very familiar, doesn’t it? Perhaps your kid is even a culprit to this addiction, right?
A recent study showed that nearly 9 percent of teens and young kids are addicted to gaming. This figure constitutes both boys and girls.
And, there are some signs of gaming addiction to watch out for in kids. For instance, they feel bad when you try to prohibit them from playing. Does that ring a bell?
They tend to feel good and better when they spend more and more time gaming. Also, kids who are addicted to gaming tend to lose interest in other activities, including school work.
There’s always a way out. First, limit the time that your child spends playing computer games more and more. And, ensure the kid does not have access to the gaming tool once the stipulated period is used up.
Introduce other meaningful activities that a kid will eventually find more fun than gaming. Do not buy gaming boards and tools or replace bad ones. Also, talk to the child about the consequences of spending more time on game, including some of the consequences that they are already manifesting.
Nowadays, it is not uncommon to find kids getting drawn to substance/drug use, and eventually becoming addicted. Peer pressure is one of the main reasons kids get into substance use and addiction.
Watch out for some of the signs such as the kid always sneaking out and reappearing, looking and acting strange. Also, kids who are drawn and addicted to substance use are constantly asking for money and making up stories on what to do with money, just to keep up with their addiction.
If you discover that your kid is battling with drug use and substance, you may need to engage the help of a professional. Do you know why? At this point, the kid may not want to listen to you.
While playing is an essential part of a kid’s balanced development, excess of it can be a sign of addiction. Or do you think that is not an addiction? Okay. Let me make it more practical.
If your kid is always asking to play with toys or other kids at the expense of his studies or even food, do you think it’s normal? It is not of course! If not checked, such behavior will lead to the kid’s poor educational performance.
So, just like other previous addictions discussed earlier, the major solution is to set boundaries for your kids when it comes to play. Use a reward system to encourage the kid to focus more on educational and skill empowering activities than playing all the time.
#6: Certain Foods
If your kid is easily pacified by some certain foods or snacks, that could be a telltale sign of addiction to that food. In fact, such kids will spend any money they have on such foods such as candies and chocolate.
And, if you do not take quick action as a parent to curtail the excesses, the child may even start stealing money at home to buy such food, or even pilfer such items in a store.
Solution? Start limiting the child’s consumption of such food or snacks. In fact, denial for some period may be a more direct and quick measure to stop such addiction.
#7: Fashion Items
Oh, you do not think that obsession with fashionable items can transition to addiction? Of course, it can! Watch out, if your teen or young adult is always obsessed with the latest fashion and can do anything to own one!
As always, setting clear boundaries can be quite helpful. Parents should also learn to speak with a child that is suffering addiction one on one, letting them know both the immediate and future consequences of their addictive behaviors.
No matter how bad it appears, any addiction can be overcome with the right measures, discipline, and seeking professional help where necessary, especially for addictions that are a threat to a child’s health and future.