Some say our teenage years can be the most challenging - for both parents and young adults. As we transition from adolescence into adulthood, we begin to form relationships, develop identities, go through phases and show curiousity about the world outside of their familiar surroundings.
With this notion of curiosity and discovery, parental concerns begin to arise - especially those that involve experimentation with drugs and alcohol.
Have a Game Plan
Taboo topics, such as drug use, may be hard to tackle, but the conversations are necessary.
A number of resources are available to parents interested in preventing teenage drug addiction. On the flip side, however, parents are encouraged to avoid certain behaviors and mannerisms that push teens to either act out or conceal their behaviors.
Let's take a look at 5 common mistakes parents make when talking to their teens about drug abuse:
- Not Recognizing the Difference Between Intelligence and Maturity
Every teen, regardless of scholastic accolades, can fall victim to peer pressure. If a teacher or trusted adult expresses concern for your teen, it is crucial to address the issues - without offering up a form of judgement. Just because your child is on the honor roll, does not mean they have the moral compass, confidence or maturity it takes to "just say no."
- Concealing Your Own Drug Use
The key to any healthy relationship, especially between a parent and a child, is honesty. When having the drug talk, for example, reveal your own personal struggles with drugs or alcohol. Having an informed discussion about the potential dangers of drug use and underage drinking can make you seem more relatable in the eyes of your teen.
- Placing the Blame
When teens engage in behaviors that could do great harm, parents may scurry to find the root of the problem. The worse possible thing to do during this time is to place the blame on someone else. Placing guilt on yourself or your teen could divide the family.
- Ignoring Mental Health Issues
Drug or alcohol abuse often masks much deeper issues. Many teens, and even adults, turn to chemical substances as a means to self-medicate their struggles with conditions like depression, eating disorders and anxiety. If concerns arise, consider taking your teen to be evaluated for mental health issues.
- Treating Experimentation as Not a Big Deal
Experimentation may or may not lead to long-term addiction. Some parents see experimentation as a normal occurrence during the formative years.
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