Do you find yourself wondering what the best methods of preventing drug use are in your teenagers?
In today’s day and age, it’s safe to say that teenage drug abuse is a significant problem in America. While drug use in teenagers is on the decline, there are still a remarkable number of teenagers experimenting with drugs today.
While many teenagers look to experimenting with drugs as a ritual in growing older, the consequences of teenage drug use can be devastating. In fact, teenagers are more likely to develop an addiction to drugs if they begin experimenting with drugs at a young age.
Fortunately, there are steps that any parent can take to help curb drug use in their teenagers. The majority of these steps are based upon providing the right education and support to teenagers during their teenage years.
If you’re looking for the best ways to curb teenage drug use for your family, you’re going to want to read this. We’re documenting useful tips and techniques for how to prevent drug abuse from becoming a reality in your teenager’s life.
1. Educating Teenagers on Drug Use
First and foremost, one of the most significant methods of curbing teenage drug use is to discuss with your teenager the downsides of drug use.
While many schools implement anti-drug programs, many of these programs focus on the educational aspects of drugs. For example, a common lecture may cite the difference between depressants and stimulants. However, these lessons fail to provide a personal and realistic portrayal of drug use.
That being said, it’s essential to have a more personal conversation with your teenager about how drug use may affect their life personally.
Throughout this discussion, be sure to avoid using scare tactics. Instead, have an open and realistic conversation with your teenager about how drug use will affect things they care about in their life. This may be sports, the ability to operate a car, their appearance, or even their sexual health.
Be honest with your teenagers and give them a realistic understanding of what drug use may lead to. This is both in terms of how drug use will affect their current lifestyle as well as how it may affect the near future.
For a sports lover, explain how drug use may significantly impact their athletic performance. Not only will a teenager abusing drugs suffer short-term in their athletic ability, it may also have long-term consequences. For example, their recent decline in performance may result in not qualifying for the sporting scholarship they have been longing for.
2. Establishing a Healthy Home Environment
The correlation between an unhealthy home environment and teenage drug abuse is incredibly strong.
Teenagers who lack a healthy home life are often more unaware of the negative consequences of drug use. In many of these households, the teenagers may have a more open “in and out” policy than typical households. Such an open schedule often allows teenagers to stay out late and do as they please.
Without family involvement, a teenager may feel that they have no reason to avoid experimenting with drugs.
3. Setting a Healthy Example
As a parent, it’s important to remind yourself that your children look to you as an example. That being said, it’s important to establish healthy routines that your children can strive toward.
Remember, your children are observing you even when you’re not looking. Actions or routines that are mainstream in adulthood will be noticed by children and teenagers.
For example, if a child sees a parent come home from work each day and immediately pour a glass of wine, they may begin to emulate you. While to you it may be a simple way to unwind, a child may view this as an alcohol dependence.
For your children to avoid the excessive use of drugs or substances, it’s essential for you to display this same pattern. Otherwise, teenagers may be confused when you penalize them down the line for doing the same.
If they witness or hear of you partaking in drugs, this will give them the impression that drug use is normal and acceptable. Once a child witnesses a parent using drugs, they are likely to use the “If you can do it, I can do it” argument. So be very aware of the example you are setting for your children.
4. Encouraging Open Communication
At the end of the day, parents want their children to feel comfortable talking openly with them. Without this comfort, children are left to interpret situations on their own and are more inclined to make irrational decisions.
Instead, be sure to encourage your children to speak to you. This may come in the form of asking questions, seeking advice or opening up about a past situation. Remind them that you were once young and facing the same issues that they are now.
Remember, a child is more likely to open up with their parent when that parent takes the first step to open up themselves. As a parent, make a habit of “checking in” with your children and asking if they have any questions.
Parents can even be straightforward and ask their children about whether drugs have presented themselves in their peer group. Simply letting your children know that you are open to discussing the matter when it does present itself is an effective means of starting the conversation.
5. Keeping Inventory of Prescription Medication
While overall teenage drug use has seen a decrease in recent years, the use of prescription medication to get high is still common amongst teenagers. In fact, prescription medication is the second-most abused drug for teenagers after cannabis.
Many teenagers turn to prescription medication as a means of getting high simply because it is so widely available. After all, many households today have a well-known common spot for medication. While this medication may be effective in pain management, it can have serious consequences when misused.
That being said, it’s important to make certain that this medication is not readily available to your children. This can be accomplished through discarding unnecessary or expired medication and keeping an inventory of current medication.
6. Debunking Media That Romanticizes Drug Use
In today’s day and age, it’s not uncommon for the media to portray drug use in a positive light.
Be it in movies, music, or television, drugs are often painted as fun, harmless substances. It’s important to make sure that your teenagers are aware that these fictional stories do not illustrate the harsh realities of drug use.
It may be helpful to discuss with your teenagers the significant number of celebrities that find themselves with serious drug addictions. As a result, many of these coveted celebrities have no choice but to enter drug rehabilitation centers.
It’s also important to discuss with your teenagers the presence of drug abuse and steroids in professional sports.
The truth is, 1 in 20 teenagers report using steroids to increase their muscle mass. Much of the motivation behind such a choice is witnessing strong and capable athletes on television who are using that same strategy.
If you feel that this could be an issue with your teenager, be sure to discuss the long-term effects that steroids have on users as well as the current effects.
7. Discussing Ways to Resist Peer Pressure
The truth is, drugs are going to present themselves to most teenagers at one point or another.
When discussing drug use with your teenagers, it’s important to remind yourself to be realistic. That being said, preaching absolute abstinence isn’t always the best method.
Instead, be open and honest with your teenagers about the fact that they are likely going to be offered drugs in their adolescence. From here, try brainstorming together the best methods for them to resist this pressure.
In some circumstances, young adolescents may feel they have no choice but to accept the pressure from their peers. It’s helpful to remind teenagers that they have the power to make their own decisions and to leave any situations that make them feel uncomfortable.
For young teenagers, having their answers pre-determined is the best possible way to avoid accepting peer pressure.
8. Be Honest About Your Own Experiences
At one point in time or another, your teenager is likely to ask you about your own history with drug use.
For those that choose to voice their past drug use, be ready to discuss what you learned from that experience. For example, in experimenting with cannabis in college, a parent can be honest about why they made that decision.
However, it’s also important to discuss the consequences that you may have faced as a result. Perhaps you may have noticed that your grades were suffering and that you didn’t enjoy feeling out of control.
It may also be beneficial to be open with your child about others in your life that used drugs and faced harsh consequences. This paints a very realistic picture to your child as to how drug use can have long-term, devastating effects.
For parents that have struggled with addiction themselves, it’s important to make your teenager aware of the concept of genetic addiction. After all, ten percent of adults report having suffered from a drug addiction in their lifetime.
If addiction runs in your family, make it known to your teenagers that they may be more likely to face addiction than others.
9. Familiarize Yourself with Your Child’s Peer Groups
Part of the responsibility in being a parent is to familiarize yourself with your teenager’s peer group.
When a parent is familiar with their teenager’s peer group, that parent is more likely to be connected to the group overall. With that comes a level of trust that the teenager themselves, as well as their peers, feel toward that parent.
Likewise, when a parent is unfamiliar with the peer group, they are naturally more disconnected. With this comes an unawareness of what is happening in their teenager’s life and lack of engagement.
While a parent may only have limited influence on their teenager’s peers, it’s still essential to direct your teenagers towards those that provide a positive influence.
For some parents, this can also be established in keeping an open relationship with the peer’s parents. In doing so, the teenagers are aware that their parents are in communication and that news has the ability to travel fast.
10. Establishing Consequences
Of course, establishing consequences might be one of the best methods of prevention that a parent can employ.
Carefully explain that each and every family has a set of rules in which the children must abide by. In saying this, clearly explain to your teenager what the consequences of using drugs will be. This may be anything from revoking certain privileges such as a car or technology to disallowing social plans.
In knowing the consequences, teenagers will be forced to re-evaluate whether or not their drug use is worth the potential consequences.
It’s also important to always follow through with enforcing these consequences. In failing to do so, teenagers will no longer take the threat of consequences seriously.
While these consequences may seem unfair to your teenager at first, remind them that you are doing this because it’s what’s best for them at this time. If they have objections to the potential consequences, be open to discussing these objections with them.
Remember, the more willing you are to have open discussions with your teenagers, the more likely they are to feel that same way.
The Battle Against Teenage Drug Abuse
The teenage drug abuse epidemic has been a harsh reality facing America for many years. Although teenagers are reporting to use drugs less, drug abuse is still a widespread issue facing many teenagers today.
In today’s school environment, the majority of teenagers are going to face peer pressure to use drugs. While parents are unable to control what happens in the hallways, parents today still play a vital role in combatting drug use in their teenagers. It’s the parent’s responsibility to provide their teenagers with the guidance and support necessary to make informed decisions.
Without this parental support, teenagers are more likely to act irrationality and make irresponsible decisions.
If you’re looking to learn more about addiction, be sure to visit our addiction information page.