Addiction and substance abuse can be a huge struggle for young teens and can have a huge impact on the family. Taking a pro-active approach and being open and honest with your children will help them avoid or overcome this obstacle to their happiness.
Help Them Find Good Peer Groups
Teens are highly influenced by the friends they spend time with. Fostering friendships with other kids who will be good influences on your children can help them avoid the peer pressure to use drugs and alcohol. Involve your children in extracurricular activities and encourage them to make like-minded friends. Talk to your kids from a young age about what positive friendships look like and how to distance themselves from negative ones.
Talk Early and Honestly About Drugs and Alcohol
A large percentage of children have had their first drink by age 12. Unfortunately, by the time many parents talk to their kids about substance abuse, those children have already experienced elicit substances first hand. Parents need to start the conversation about drugs, often much earlier than they expect.
When talking to your children, it’s important to be completely honest and non-judgmental. If you lie about the negative effects of one drug, they will not trust what you say about any others. Foster an open relationship with your children and encourage them that they can talk to you about anything. Often kids are afraid to go to their parents even when they want help out of fear of disappointing them or being punished.
According to an article found here, kids use drugs for a number of reasons, including depression and anxiety, thrill seeking, and curiosity. Give them other outlets for their feelings and curiosity, such as thrill seeking sports, qualified therapy for depression, and positive friendships. Keep the lines of communication open about their needs, fears, and desires.
Offer Support and Treatment
If your child is struggling with addiction, it is important to be supportive and reaffirm your love for them. Let them know that you think the behavior is unhealthy, but you still love them and will help them get through it. Make sure your child gets professional help, such as a drug detox facility in Utah or an inpatient rehab center. It can be hard for parents to admit, but sometimes they can’t do everything on their own.
Keeping an open, honest, and supportive relationship with your child is one of the best ways to ensure they have all the tools they need to avoid drugs and combat addiction.