It is something no parent wants to think about. Unfortunately, teens across the country struggle with drug abuse. It is a serious problem that must be addressed.
The good news is that you can take direct action. The most effective preventive measures start at home. Prevent your teen from going down a troubled path by implementing some of these strategies today.
Talk to Your Teen
You know your child best. Determine the most appropriate way to communicate with them.
It may sound simple. You may think your teen already understands the dangers of drugs.
Education, however, is crucial. You should sit down with them and talk about why they should avoid drugs.
Focus on the health risks associated with drug abuse. Whether they are consumed or injected, illicit substances can have serious ramifications. For one, they might affect your teen’s growth and brain development. They can also contribute to adult health problems down the line.
You can also focus on the social and legal consequences. In teens, drug abuse occurs more frequently with other risky behaviors such as unprotected sex. Additionally, any legal trouble they run into can adversely affect their future.
Have a Meaningful Conversation
In most cases, it is best to avoid an outright lecture. Facilitate an open discussion. Ask your teen what they think about substance abuse. Brainstorm ways for them to avoid peer pressure. Listen to their perception of substance abuse in the media.
Discuss reasons not to use that they will better relate to. Talk about how drug use can affect their appearance or participation in sports.
If they ask about your past, be honest. If you don’t do drugs, talk about why you didn’t and how it has benefited you. If you have, talk about what you learned from the experience.
Understand What Leads to Drug Abuse
Understanding where these issues come from is important. Does your family have a history of substance abuse? This might put your teen at a higher risk.
There are also other contributing factors. Some common ones include:
- Low self-esteem
- Impulsive behavior
- History of traumatic events
- Mental health conditions (depression, anxiety, etc.)
By knowing what can lead to addiction, you can be one step ahead of the game.
Having house rules is important to set your teen up for success. For instance, do not allow them to attend parties where drug use is occurring. Forbid them from getting in a car with a driver who is under the influence.
If your teen breaks your rules, enforce the consequences. They need to know that the rules are in place for a reason.
Observe Their Behavior
No matter how much you teach your kids and enforce rules, there’s the chance that they will fall down the wrong path. As a parent, you want to be alert and aware.
According to New Life House, some of the most common signs of teen drug abuse include:
- Problems with maintaining relationships
- Increased isolation
- Severe changes in mood and personality
- Out-of-the-ordinary sleeping patterns or eating habits
Encourage Them to Come to You
If your teen does struggle with substance abuse, they shouldn’t be afraid to come to you. Let them know that you are a safe source to confide in.
If they are abusing drugs, it is important to get help as soon as possible. By coming to you as soon as there’s a problem, your teen will have a better chance at recovery.
At the end of the day, you need to trust your teen. You have the power to arm them with the information and support they need to live a healthy, productive life.