Adolescence can be a difficult period for many. In addition to studies and hormones, teens must combat peer pressure, social trends and an enhanced curiosity – a recipe for trouble. In order to thwart negative exterior influence, it is important for parents to educate teens as to the dangers and consequences of their actions. If you suspect drug or alcohol use in your teen, it is vital that action be taken to address the issue in an effective and loving manner. Here’s how:
Confronting Teen Drug Use
1 – Know your battle by researching statistics and information pertaining to teenage drug use. The more informed you are on the topic, the better able you will be to get your point across. You may even call your local police precinct for additional help, as many keep brochures handy. Scare tactics may work on a minimal level – Care tactics are preferred.
2 – Designate a time to sit down and communicate with your teen in a calm and sober setting. Suggest a walk, drive, or sit down meal where you can enjoy some one-on-one time.
3 – Be respectful! Nobody likes to be talked down to. A parent who allows their emotions to dictate the conversation will enjoy little, to no success. Take deep breaths, speak calmly, and be direct.
4 – Tell your teen about your suspicions. Explain the signs you have noticed and request an explanation. If your teen is unable to offer reasoning for their behaviors or comes up with wild excuses, you can likely affirm these suspicions.
5 – Provide statistics and evidence to stress your point – Drugs are dangerous and unhealthy. Offer insight into the long-term effects of drug and alcohol abuse, including addiction, financial struggle, health issues and memory loss. Placing the issue into a real-world context may provide them with enough reason to stop. Dive into your teen’s personal goals and show how they will be affected if the drug/alcohol use persists.
6 – Share your own experiences with drugs and alcohol. Whether it’s having watched a friend deteriorate or your own dealings, it’s important that your teen know that they are not alone. A personal story will work to illustrate your point while offering a unique perspective on the topic.
7 – Listen! Preaching will get you nowhere if you are unable to communicate on an equal level. Ask why they choose to dabble with drugs. Is it peer pressure? Relaxation? Escape? Create a dialogue that is both safe and open. If you want your teen to be honest with you, they must feel comfortable to do so!
8 – Explain that you cannot approve of your teen’s drug use and that it must stop immediately. Outline consequences if they choose to continue but definitely offer assistance to help them quit.
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