When your teen was young, it was probably easier to talk to them. Kids naturally look up to their parents and absorb what they teach — but they get more skeptical as they get older. It’s good for teens to develop their own thoughts and opinions as they grow up, even if it makes it hard to talk about certain things.
As teenagers enter junior high and high school, they’ll meet new people who will influence their personal growth. Young adults commonly experiment together with things like hairstyles, clothing and especially drugs. It’s always been common for teenagers to do drugs together, but sometimes this ends in addiction.
Parents can read about these five tips that will help you talk with your kids about preventing teen drug abuse. With the right approach, understanding and conversational guidance, your teen will know how to navigate their lives in a healthy, responsible way.
Adults know there’s more to life than grades and getting into college. They have more responsibilities and more to lose if things go wrong. Teens only plan for the next year or two down the road, if they have a plan for their future at all. They’re typically more concerned about the present, which fuels their motivations when it comes to trying drugs.
Teens want to fit in with their friends and feel accepted during a period of life when their body changes and feels foreign. They may not have a strong sense of identity and may rely on their friends to build their opinions.
Consider what could motivate your teenager to get a better idea of what’s going on in their life.
When you want to talk with your teen about any uncomfortable conversation, it’s essential to approach them with openness and active listening. Don’t interrupt, condemn or seem distracted. An easy way to do this is to learn about body language so you never project an emotion or message you don’t mean. Teens won’t want to discuss drug abuse or listen to you if they feel threatened or judged.
Drugs may appeal to teens because they make them feel good. It may help to explain the health side effects of the most seemingly harmless drugs. A product like marijuana alters crucial brain development if it’s smoked during adolescence. They won’t get the most out of life by hurting their body during their teenage years.
Some teens have plenty of free time to waste on drug use, so find them a new hobby. Take them to sports tryouts or fun activities around town so they can fill their time with healthy interests.
Even if the conversation goes well, look for signs of drug use to stay alert and aware. Mood changes, social withdrawal and a smoky odor following them around could all indicate secret drug abuse.
Teens won’t want to talk about their private lives or listen to what you say if they don’t feel safe. Stay kind, open and alert to walk the fine line between friend and parent when it comes to drug use.