In today’s world, drugs are a reality that no teen can completely avoid. Illegal substances lurk around school and social gatherings. No longer can a parent simply tell a child to just avoid them. While this is a good first step, it is essential that the parent take further measures to help the teen make smart choices when it comes to drugs. Being educated about how these substances can harm the teen in every way can help him or her make the right decision when faced with a threatening situation.
You, as a parent, can make a world of difference when it comes to drugs in your child’s life. Here are a few tips to help your teen stay drug-free, healthy, and safe.
Do Your Research
First, it’s important that you know what you’re talking about when it comes to drugs. There is plenty of research available online. Before you talk with your teen about drugs and the effects of them, take time to educate yourself. By doing this, you can make sure that your teen can trust what you say (and perhaps more importantly, your teen will know that what you say can be trusted.) If you exaggerate the effects, saying all drugs will immediately kill a person, it is likely your teen will learn otherwise, which could lead to trouble. Be a valid source for your child and he or she will likely come to you if a problem arises.
Communicate Openly With Your Child
One of the most important things you can do to help your teen is to communicate openly. This is true not only with drugs, but with all areas of your child’s life. Bring up those sensitive topics (including, and especially, drugs) that often make teens and parents feel uncomfortable. The truth is that if your teen doesn’t learn about drugs from you, he or she is likely to learn about them from friends. Obviously, it is much better than they come from you. Another reason to communicate openly with your child is to make those sensitive topics more approachable. Making these topics “taboo” is not a good idea in a household. Be that open, approachable source your child can trust.
It is possible that some questions or interests your teen has may surprise you. One of the worst things you can do at this point is act shocked and upset. Doing this automatically puts your teen on guard. It makes him or her feel like asking you about drugs is no longer safe. It is best to stay calm and answer questions honestly.
Build Your Teen’s Self-Confidence and Be Involved in His or Her Life
Often, teens begin using drugs because they are suffering in some way. Perhaps they do not have much self-esteem. Or perhaps they have just suffered the death of a loved one or friend. Teens often begin using drugs to “dull the pain.” Of course, this only makes their problems worse, but in the moment, all the teen can see is immediate relief. It is incredibly important that you continually build and improve your teen’s self-confidence and emotional health. Encourage extra-curricular activities and attend these events. Be as involved in his or her life as you possibly can. Show love and support for your teen.
Discuss Peer Pressure With Your Teen
And finally, educate your teen about peer pressure. Explain that we all have a desire to fit in, but that we must choose our friends wisely. Help your teen understand that any friend who offers drugs probably doesn’t have your teen’s best interests at heart and that no amount of “acceptance” is worth the pain and suffering that can come from trying drugs. Once again, as you build your teen’s self-confidence, you will help him or her avoid the devastating effects of drugs as a result of friends and peer pressure.
About the Author: Hyrum Taffer is a freelance writer who has extensive experience with helping drug addicts and substance abusers. He is currently working with DrugRehab.org to help people over come these problems.