Drug and alcohol abuse is a serious problem – especially for teens since they are still growing, which means that substance abuse can negatively impact their mental development. The best way that you can prevent your teen from developing a substance abuse problem is by talking with them – the following are a few tips for speaking to your kids about drug and alcohol abuse:
Speak with your teen at an early age
Don’t wait too late to begin discussing the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse. Many teens begin experimenting with drugs and alcohol as early as middle school, so it’s important that you speak with your kids about the dangers of substance abuse while they are young (but old enough so that they understand). The reasons teens abuse substances may differ from those of adults, but definitely have the potential to be equally as damaging. Common causes of substance abuse in adolescents are stress, peer pressure or boredom. There may be other underlying emotional or psychological issues at hand. Often, once these issues are addressed, teens feel less of a desire to experiment with substances.
Make it clear that they can talk to you about anything
Teens will often turn to drugs and alcohol to cope with the stress of being a teen – make it clear that they can speak to you about problems they may be having in their life.
Discuss real world examples of substance abuse
Don’t shy away from talking about real world examples of substance abuse, such as celebrities that overdosed or are in legal troubles due to substance abuse – or even about family members that are struggling with substance abuse. This allows your kids to understand the real life consequences of substance abuse.
- Talk to them rather than at them. A conversation about their behavior will be much more productive than a scolding session.
- Engage the teen and the entire family on their drug or alcohol abuse.
- Schedule an appointment with a mental health professional who can assess the situation and help the teen cope with underlying issues.
Teens whose substance abuse extends beyond experimentation may require more intensive care. If the abuse of substances is at a frequent level, professional addiction specialists may be highly recommended to stop substance abuse before it persists into adulthood.
If you need help addressing your teen about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse, give us a call today.