Concerned about approaching your teen about the consequences of illicit substances? Our guest blogger provides advice on how to approach this tricky topic in a loving and cautious manner. MWM.
Every parent worries about their child, especially when it comes to those tricky teenage years. Alcohol and drug abuse remain a serious issue in our society today in both adults and an alarming number of youths.
Statistics shockingly reveal that by the time kids reach the 8th grade 28% of them have consumed alcohol, 15% have smoked cigarettes, and 16.5% have used marijuana. Even more worrying, approximately 50% of high school seniors do not think it’s harmful to try crack or cocaine and 40% believe it’s not harmful to use heroin once or twice.
It is understandable that as a parent you are highly concerned and finding out if your child is using drugs is a delicate situation and a difficult one to confirm. If you suspect your teenager may be at risk of alcohol or drug abuse or you have already discovered your child is experimenting and is heading towards addiction, there are many ways you can help prevent that from spiraling out of control.
The aim of this article is to look at 5 ways in which you, as a parent can educate and support your teenager to avoid the serious health and mental risks associated with drug abuse and addiction.
1. Give them unconditional support
Every parent wants their child to be successful in life but sometimes it is difficult to understand the kinds of pressure they are exposed to these days. Supporting your teenager with positive reinforcement is a way to make them feel they are doing things right and may help them avoid suffering from stress too much.
Some of the main reasons teens turn to alcohol and/or drug abuse is because of stress, anxiety and a fear of failure. If you discover your teen is using alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism for stress, instead of punishing them help them understand the dangers of substance abuse and help them get through the tough times with other means like exercise or encouraging healthy hobbies.
2. Help them understand negative consequences without demonizing their actions
The first response of many parents is to blame their child for being irresponsible or giving into peer pressure. The typical course of action is to punish them which can only fuel the cause of their want to abuse drugs and push them further towards addiction. Instead, try to understand what might be the reason behind their drug use and show them how the consequences of addiction can be harmful not only to themselves but to the family too.
Reaching a delicate balance between being strict and supportive can be tricky but it is best to deal with the situation with a cool head and an objective approach. Your child might think twice before doing it again if they know their family will be affected too.
3. Learn real facts about drug types and how to identify drug abuse
Education is key and you should be the first person to research and find out what drugs are out there, what effects they have and what are the signs of a teen abusing drugs or alcohol. Your teenager probably has a lot of questions about drug use and addiction but will most likely feel you are not the person to ask.
If you educate yourself you will be able to handle the questions your child may have about drug use and therefore be a vital aid in preventing the situation getting out of control.
4. Addiction does not discriminate
How many parents have said, “That would never happen to my child” only to find out the dark secrets and experiences their children are living. Addiction can happen to any person regardless of age, race, social or economic status and upbringing. You can’t presume that addiction only happens in certain environments or is a result of bad parenting.
Each unique case is different and in many instances, drug abuse can begin from simple curiosity or a trigger such as bullying. Never presume your child is immune to the temptations of drug abuse rather stay aware of the signs and changes in behavior in your teen to determine if the cause may be addiction related.
5. Not all drug abuse comes from illicit substances
Most likely when you imagine drug abuse you immediately think of illegal and illicit drugs like cocaine, marijuana or pills like MDMA but you might be surprised to know that 60% of teens abuse prescription drugs such as Vicodin a narcotic pain killer, Oxycontin another high dose painkiller and the ADHD drug Adderall which is a psychostimulant designed to enhance focus and relieve stress.
Dealing with your own child in this situation can be terrifying and daunting as a parent but the best way you can help prevent your child from becoming another victim of drug abuse is by communicating and showing support.
Your teenager may be going through a difficult time and needs all your support to help direct them to make the right choices. Listen to them when they need to be heard and look out for the tell-tale signs they might be in trouble.
We love to hear from our readers. Do you have any advice for parents out there who suspect their child might be involved in drug abuse or on the verge of addiction? Leave us your comments below.
About the Author:
Hi, I am Andy! I was born in Bogota, Colombia but raised in Los Angeles, California. I have been clean for 9 years now! I spend my time helping others wit their recovery and growing my online business.
Guest blog posts are welcome additions to the content on this website. Guest blog posts represent the views, opinions and experiences of the author and do not necessarily represent Our Young Addicts. Together, we provide parents and professionals with a variety of perspectives and information.
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