When teens experiment with drugs, they put their safety at risk. Various factors can contribute to why a teen might begin using or abusing drugs, including insecurity or a desire for social acceptance. Teenagers are easily influenced during this developmental stage in life and may agree to try drugs or alcohol if they believe it will make them liked. The developmental stage that they are in is also very impulsive, and they might not consider the consequences of their actions because of the belief that they are indestructible. This can lead to them taking dangerous risks such as abusing legal or illegal drugs.
A teen’s background can also play a major role in their abuse of drugs. One common reason is abuse being in their family history. There may also be mental or behavioral health issues that the teen is dealing with and turning to drug abuse is the only way they know how to handle them. Traumatic experiences may also play a role. It is important that we prevent them from abusing drugs and guide them into making healthy choices.
Open the Dialogue
Talk to your teen about drug abuse. Instead of talking in lecture form, allow the teen to tell you their view of drug abuse. Make sure your teen knows that they can have an open and honest conversation with you. During the conversation make sure they understand the concerns and risks of drug abuse. When discussing the risks, correlate them to topics that are important to teens now. An example may be that they can lose driving privileges or their ability to play sports. Provide them with methods to deal with peer pressure without feeling as if they will be rejected by their peers.
Let them learn from your mistakes. If applicable, talk to your teen about your experiences with drugs when you were their age. Make sure they understand that you’ve been there, and you want to protect them from going through the same issues that you went through. Breaking it down to terms and experiences that they can understand is more likely to get through to your teen.
Play an Active Role
Be a strong role model. If you are a parent that likes to drink or other activities, it is important that you do not do it in front of your teen. You may know realize that they are watching you, but they are receiving a message that drug abuse is a fun activity. Instead, be a role model and stray away from the activities.
Know your teen. All teens want to have space from their parents however too much space can be a detriment. Make sure that you are always aware of what activities your teen is involved in. You should also know your teen’s friends that they are hanging out with. These people will have a direct impact on the decisions that your teen is being forced to make. Knowing who they are with will give you more of a potential from keeping your teens away from individuals that may be a negative influence on them.
Keep track of the medication that is being kept in your home. If you have prescription medication that is no longer needed, find a safe way to discard it. Remove the potential and risk of your teen using the medication for recreational purposes.
We know the potential for teens to experience and abuse drugs is out there. Instead of ignoring the issue, it is important that all parents have a conversation with their teens. Several websites, such as drugfree.org, provide many great tips on how to get the conversation started. Don’t take a backseat in your child’s life.