Protect Your Child from Addiction by Building Self-EfficacyPat Fontana
As a parent, you probably worry about your child’s mental and physical health constantly. As your child grows, they may be tempted by a lot of negative influences in their life. You can take steps to keep your child safe even when you can’t be there to watch over them. Protect your child from addiction by building self-efficacy so that they are prepared with a sense of control and hope.
The idea of self-efficacy was defined by psychologist Albert Bandura in 1977, who stated that “expectations of personal efficacy determine whether coping behavior will be initiated, how much effort will be expended, and how long it will be sustained in the face of obstacles and aversive experiences.” Essentially, self-efficacy is your belief that you can succeed. As a result, you have the foundation needed to control and regulate your thoughts and emotions, giving you a sense of fortitude and resilience even in the most challenging situations.
People who do not have a sense of self-efficacy can be inflexible and pessimistic with low self-esteem. They can tend to act more helpless, become depressed, and lose hope. These traits are also associated with someone who is more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as a way to address and alleviate their negative feelings.
Self-Efficacy and Addiction
You can protect your child from addiction by taking steps to build up their self-efficacy, which is one of the most powerful protective factors you can provide your child. Peer pressure is huge in childhood, particularly as kids grow into their teens. Self-efficacy can help them be strong enough and confident enough to resist that peer pressure, directly and indirectly. They will also be more likely to be open and talk to you honestly about their challenges in life.
On the other hand, one of the risk factors for addiction is a lack of self-efficacy. Research studies have shown the significant effects of psychological factors on decreasing the risk of addiction. The self-efficacy belief is a cognitive-motivational force that can determine an individual’s coping level under pressure, especially the peer pressure they may face to use alcohol or drugs. In addition, some studies have found a significant negative relationship between self-efficacy and addiction relapse.
Self-Esteem and Self-Efficacy
More than simply believing in yourself, self-efficacy helps your child develop a realistic sense of their strengths and weaknesses, which can determine their actions and their achievements. You can protect your child from addiction by helping them develop a realistic sense of their own strengths and fortitude.
Self-efficacy, though, is more than self-esteem, which is the opinion they hold about their own worth or value. Self-esteem is important but by itself does not give your child the optimistic attitude and willingness to persist they will need in challenging situations, such as when they are tempted by drugs or alcohol. These traits are developed as part of self-efficacy, which helps them believe they are capable to continue to move forward even when experiencing setbacks.
Influencing Your Child
You can develop self-efficacy in your child to give them the tools they need to resist the temptations of drugs and alcohol by:
- Helping them develop a feeling of mastery. Mastery is expertise in a particular subject or task and happens when your child equates their success with something they can control. If they associate a good grade with their study efforts, for example, that gives them a sense of mastery. Sports and other extra-curricular activities are also important protective factors to build self-confidence and self-efficacy.
- Encouraging them to overcome a challenge and experience success early in life. Give them a task that is challenging enough to keep their interest and engagement but not too difficult for them to achieve. After they succeed in the task, they will be motivated to try more challenging tasks, which will help build their resilience.
- Praising them for their efforts, sending them positive messages about their capabilities and skills in handling challenging tasks. Reinforcing their efforts and continuing to encourage them regardless of the outcome of their efforts helps them develop the skills they need to confidently tackle future challenges. Also, allowing them to fail and learning how to move past challenges is an extremely important skill for kids to develop.
We’re Here to Help You and Your Child
At R&A Therapeutic Partners, we know you want your child to be protected from addiction. We offer you the counseling and parenting support your family needs, as well as psychotherapy and therapeutic consulting services, to support you and your child. We offer in-office and telehealth therapy options during COVID-19. We encourage you to contact the Miami therapeutic consultants Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno to learn more about the services R&A Therapeutic Partners offers. Call us at 786-452-7352 to schedule your appointment.
At R&A Therapeutic Partners Raymond Estefania and Ana Moreno specialize in substance use and mental health disorder evaluations, treatment, intervention and therapeutic/educational consulting for clients throughout the greater South Florida area, as well as nationally and internationally. For more resources and information please visit Therapeutic-Partners.com or on Facebook.