UH Manoa Center on the Family offers drug prevention guide for parents with keiki ages 8-11

University of Hawaiʻi
Ann Tom, (808) 956-4132
Center on the Family
Arlene Abiang, (808) 956-5637
External Affairs & University Relations
Posted: Sep 6, 2005

HONOLULU — Though it is considered rare for children ages 8 to 11 to use drugs, the success or failure of their transition into adolescence can affect the drug-related decisions boys and girls will make later during their teen years. The University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa‘s Center on the Family has developed a drug prevention guide for parents and other adults who work with children in this age group in an effort to combat drug and alcohol use amongst teens before they reach their teens.

Entitled "Keeping Children Drug Free: A Prevention Guide for Hawaiʻi‘s Keiki Ages 8-11," the six-page guide aims to increase awareness amongst these caregivers that many of the factors leading to teen drug and alcohol use are actually set in motion earlier in childhood.

"We hope the information in this guide will be used by parents and other adults who work with children to better understand the vulnerabilities and strengths of children ages 8 to 11," said Ann Tom, senior project facilitator with the Center on the Family. "Parents and other adults especially need to know that there are many things they can do to build children‘s resistance to tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and direct them toward a healthier lifestyle."

The guide takes a comprehensive approach to prevention, examining the unique developmental characteristics of children ages 8-11 that may place them at risk for later drug and alcohol use. Risk and protective factors are identified based on the physical, intellectual and social/emotional development of middle childhood. No single risk or protective factor can predict an individual child‘s outcome, but the accumulation of multiple risk factors places children at greatest risk and the presence of multiple protective factors can provide resilience despite overwhelming difficulties.

Two dozen practical things that adults can do to build resilience in young children are highlighted, such as planning fun family activities that help children burn off energy, encouraging children‘s questions and involving them in solving everyday dilemmas, and listening when children express their feelings and concerns.

The guide also includes data on drug and alcohol use by Hawaiʻi‘s sixth graders as well as the latest research on the effects of drug use and underage drinking. Contact information for local resources that can provide assistance are included in addition to prevention websites geared toward children and informative websites for adults.

For more information or copies of the prevention guide, contact the UH Mānoa Center on the Family at (808) 956-4133 or visit www.uhfamily.hawaii.edu.

For more information, visit: http://www.uhfamily.hawaii.edu