Pubdate: Mon, 19 Sep 2005
Source: Pacific Daily News (US GU)
Copyright: 2005 Pacific Daily News
Author: Tammy Anderson
Bookmark: (Youth)


Solid Relationship Can Steer Kids Clear Of Drugs

Rayvic Garrido, a single dad of three, says when it comes to talking
with his kids about drugs, he follows one policy: laying the truth out
on the line.

"I have had personal experiences with friends of mine who have passed
away because of drugs," the 35-year-old Dededo resident said. Telling
his kids about the realities of substance abuse and his own encounters
with it, he hopes, will help them avoid some of the same mistakes.

"I don't hide anything," Garrido said. "Maybe, sometimes I shouldn't
be so open and some people consider that (my kids) may not be able to
handle it, but I don't hide anything from them."

Garrido is among a minority group of fathers in the United States who
talk to their teens about drug abuse, according to a recent survey
from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.

The study found that only 37 percent of fathers surveyed have talked
to their kids about drugs at least four times in the past year. On the
other hand, about 45 percent of mothers claimed to have done so.

Although the partnership's survey revealed that the percentage of teen
drug use decreased from 51 percent in 1998 to 44 percent in 2004, the
percentage of fathers fostering substance-free living is less -- for
various reasons -- than mothers.

Fathers, compared to mothers, are less likely to monitor their teen's
activities, make and enforce rules or ask their teen with whom he or
she spent the day. The data from the survey also found that fathers
were less likely to spot the negative consequences in the use of some

In another study done by the National Fatherhood Initiative, the
closer teens feel to their fathers, the less likely they are to use
drugs and alcohol no matter what type of family structure they live

Teens who have a solid relationship with their dads, the study
concluded, do not need to depend as much on relationships outside the
home. Outside relationships with peers sometimes can bring negative
peer pressure into the mix and introduce a teen to risky behavior and
bad decisions, according to the study.

Garrido said he has pushed the message with his children, ages seven,
11 and 13, that there is nothing to gain from a life with drugs and
alcohol. And he can speak from experience.

"You can escape (reality) temporarily, but eventually you have to come
back," he said is one point he has made to his children. "I told them
what kind of person I was before and that I have been there and done
that. There is nothing worth doing that kind of lifestyle for."

Garrido knows that his position as a single father and a father in
general is an important one.

"I lead by example ... just trying to be the best dad I can be," he
said. "Anybody can be a dad, but it takes a real man to be a father."
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