In this post, we offer up a discussion for helping teens avoid drug addiction. Teen addiction may have catastrophic implications for the individual’s development. It’s thus essential for parents and other caregivers to recognise and act to eliminate teen addiction where it arises.
Teens who engage in drug addiction are clearly putting their health in harms ways. Teen drug addiction is also linked to several long-term negative consequences. We hope that by the time you have completed reading this post, you will be much better armed in tackling teen addiction.
Why do teens abuse drugs
Teens abuse drugs for many different reasons. In this post, we outline some of the more common reasons for why teens abuse drugs. These reasons may range from a desire to gain social acceptance to a desire to cope with isolation and insecurity. Teens are also known to underestimate the consequences of drug use. This means they expose themselves to dangers without really appreciating the risks they expose themselves to in the process.
Some other common causes of teen addiction include:
- Being bullied and the associated low self-esteem this causes
- Genetic reasons e.g. family history of addiction
- Impulsive behaviour
- Dual diagnosed mental health issues
- Experiencing a traumatic event
Addressing teen addiction
If you suspect your teen may be experiencing an addiction, the worst thing you can do is to ignore it and hope the issue will go away on its own. You need to address the issue by talking to your teenage son or daughter. It’s important to address the issue in a timely manner. Do not bring up the topic when your child is emotionally bothered in any way.
Below, we list some tips for how to discuss the issue of addiction with your teenage son or daughter:
- Ask your teen open questions. For instance, why are they resorting to drug use in the first place. Try not to lecture or talk down to your son or daughter. Instead, see this as a diagnostic mission where you are finding out the root cause of the addiction.
- Assure your son or daughter that they will not be punished for the information they reveal to you about the extent of his or her addiction to drugs.
- Don’t expect to discover all the facts in the first discussion. Be willing to terminate the discussion in a friendly manner when it is obvious your son or daughter is becoming irate.
- Discuss the consequences of taking drugs. This could include health, educational, relationship and career consequences. Steer clear of obvious scare tactics.
- Discuss the issue of peer pressure and ways you teen could combat peer pressure without resorting to drug use.
necessary, discuss your own experiences with drugs in your youth. This is particularly powerful as your son or daughter is likely not going to expect you to reveal this information.
Other action you may take to prevent teen drug use
Talking to your teen is one of many strategies you may take when trying to prevent teen addiction. Talking to your teen is perhaps the most effective method you have available to you, as it helps your teen willingly believe that drug use is wrong without this being imposed upon them.
However, there are additional steps you may take to prevent teen drug use. We list some of these steps below:
- Pay attention to what your teen is passionate about. Try to help him or her develop these passions. This could be a sport, a hobby or some other activity.
- Get to know your son or daughter’s social circle. This will help you identify the ‘bad influences’ in his or her social circle.
- Set a good example by not using drugs yourself.
- Enforce rules. Set out what you will accept and what you will not accept. Let your teen know that drug use will not be tolerated, and impose punishment when this rule is broken.