Whether it’s self-medication, boredom, the massive online appeal of drugs and alcohol, or just out of curiosity, Boca House reports more and more teens are experimenting with drugs every year. Studies show Marijuana and prescription drugs rank among the top illicit drugs abused by teens. Drug or alcohol use is harmful at any age, but especially detrimental to brain development and behavior in younger people.
Parents of teenagers today experience incredible stress trying to prevent their kids from going down a bad path of drug and alcohol use. There are plenty of methods offered around; let them learn on their own, keep them under strict rules. Parents know the first step is talking to teens about drugs, but which methods prove the most successful?
At Boca House, a sober living facility for men, we understand every aspect of addiction from the very first try all the way to a successful sober recovery. We have a few guidelines for parents talking to teens about drugs.
Having a healthy relationship with your teenager can be a huge influencer on their behavior. If a teenager feels alone and overwhelmed they may turn to drugs or alcohol to self-medicate. However, if a teenager feels they have a good relationship with their parent and can confide in them, they may be more likely to stay out of trouble. You can create a positive avenue for them to deal with their problems by reminding them that you are there to listen and talk to them whenever they need it.
Educate them on the consequences.
During their teenage years, the frontal lobe in a developing brain is not fully connected due to a lack of myelin. The frontal lobe is the part of your brain responsible for forward thinking, considering consequences and checking your actions. Teens aren’t able to grasp that their actions today will affect them tomorrow. As a parent, it is critical that you explain to your teen that drug use comes with awful consequences, and some are long term. Consequences can include: poor performance in school, health problems, suffering relationships, getting into accidents, trouble with law enforcement, inability to obtain a job, or even early death.
Give them an out.
One of the biggest problems with teen drug use is the peer pressure that comes along with it. When talking to teens about drugs and alcohol use, give them an easy out to use if they’re feeling pressured by their friends:
- “Not now.”
- “Maybe another time.”
- “I don’t want to.”
- “I don’t feel like it.”
- Switch locations.
- Suggest alternative things to do.
- Pretend you’re getting a call or text.
- Pretend you need to be home soon.
Boca House reports that teenagers who are more involved in something they are passionate about are less likely to engage in recreational drug and alcohol use. When a person has a goal that they are trying to achieve, it is easier for them to stay focused. Get your teenager involved in sports, academics, spending time with family, or anything that is a positive environment to keep them focused.