The Importance of Teaching Your Kids About Teen Addiction

Part of being a parent means you are willing to do anything possible to keep your child safe. However, that becomes much more difficult as they get older and the lines of communication are often limited. That is why talking about drugs and alcohol when your children are young and more open to the conversation is vital. It is a conversation that could potentially save your child’s life.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put many parents in a unique position that was not an option prior. With many parents now working from home or out of work, this gives them more time with their children, meaning more time to teach them important life skills. That means now could be the perfect time to talk with your children about drugs and alcohol addiction.

While a majority of teens have admitted to trying drugs or alcohol at least once, this is not always indicative of future addiction problems. But for those that continue regular use, lifetime addiction can be predicted as early as the teenage years. Some researchers have said “Because the early onset of substance use is a significant predictor of substance use behavior and disorders in a lifespan, the public health implications of the current findings are far-reaching.”

To help keep your teen from becoming another statistic in a research article, two of the best things you can do are model healthy behaviors and continue to have open and honest conversations with them at all ages.

You can even do everything “right”, but sometimes children will still develop a substance use disorder.

It is important to know that doesn’t make you a bad parent or your child a bad kid. But helping your child recover from substance abuse may only be the beginning of struggles you might face.

How to Discuss Teen Substance Addiction With Your Kids

Nobody likes being told what to do. This is especially true for teenagers trying to establish their independence as a young adult.

Giving them a lecture is even more likely to result in eye rolls and frustrations from both parties. That means it is important to make these conversations two-sided.

Let your child talk and ask them open-ended questions. That being said, it is vital to actually listen to what their responses are.

Be sure to start having these conversations at a young age, that way when they are actually faced with the option to try drugs or alcohol for the first time, they have years worth of conversations to base their choices on.

When you have these conversations, be sure they are age appropriate. There is nothing your teenager will hate more than being talked to like a child, and small children do not need to know all the statistics about substance abuse.

Age Appropriate Ways to Talk and be Involved With Your Child About Drugs and Alcohol:

Ages 2-4

  • At this age, children are too young to understand what drugs are.
  • Model healthy lifestyles.
  • Encourage positive decision-making.
  • When giving them medicine, tell them what you are giving them and why.
  • Encourage personal responsibility.

Ages 5-8

  • Talk about short-term consequences of alcohol and other drugs.
  • Condemn drug-related messages in the media. Use characters in TV and movies as an opportunity to engage in these conversations.
  • Get to know their friends now.
  • Promote problem-solving skills and help them when needed.
  • Teach kids to avoid dangerous situations.

Ages 9-12

  • Ask your kids what they know/think about drugs.
  • Answer any questions they may have honestly.
  • Empower them to make good decisions.
  • Keep drug-related conversations fact-based.
  • Include all types of substances in these conversations, specifically prescription drugs in addition to illicit drugs and alcohol.

Ages 13-18

  • Be specific and consistent about the consequences of breaking the rules. Consider making a contract with them that holds you both accountable
  • Praise teens for positive decisions. Show interest in their lives.
  • Talk about the legal ramifications of drug use, such as fines and jail time.
  • Then talk with them about the consequences of drug charges outside of the law, like decreased acceptance into colleges or skills programs and difficulty finding jobs.
  • Encourage them to set a good example for others, be it friends, younger siblings, etc.
  • Don’t rely on school programs to teach about drug prevention, have these conversations at home.

Support: Bricolage Behavioral Health is Here for the Teens of Flower Mound,Texas

The staff here at Bricolage Behavioral Health does not want teen mental health to continue to be swept under the rug.

We believe the entire family gets stronger when their kids and adolescents have access to the best tools to live both functionally and happily, and we have unique assessment methods and counseling plans to make it happen for each individual family we work with.

Offering Partial Hospitalization, Intensive Outpatient Care (which can work around your son or daughter’s school schedule), and aftercare plans, we want to bring out the inner resilience in your children and help your whole family.

Located on Long Prairie Road, near Firewheel Drive and the Montessori Rainbow School, and close to one of Flower Mound’s large residential areas, we are convenient to reach out to.

So, don’t wait for your kids to spiral out of control. Talk to them. And then talk to us.

Call Bricolage Behavioral Health for a Mental Health Assessment for Your Child or Teen Today: 469-968-5700

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