As a parent, it’s your responsibility to help your child navigate life and do what you can to set them up for success. And sometimes, that means having difficult conversations. Whether you suspect your teen is using drugs or you want to have a preemptive discussion about the effects of drug use, keep reading for seven tips on how to talk to your teen about drugs.
What are the 3 Major Influences that Cause Teen Drug Use?
While there are many factors that can contribute to a teen using drugs for the first time, three of the most substantial influences are peer pressure, family pressure, and media pressure.
- Peer Pressure: Teens want to fit in with their friends and be like them, so they may go along with trying drugs even if they don’t really want to in order to be accepted.
- Family Pressure: If a teen’s parents or siblings use drugs or there is a history of addiction in the family, the teen may be more likely to try them as well. On the other hand, a lack of family involvement and parental supervision can also influence a teen’s substance abuse.
- Media Pressure: Drug use is often depicted as exciting and glamorous in books, movies, and TV shows. As a result, teens may view using drugs as something that will make their lives more interesting or exciting.
Additionally, a teen’s mental health issues can influence their drug use. Studies have found that teenagers with depressive disorders have higher rates of substance abuse. Understanding the primary motivation behind your child’s behavior can help you know how to talk to your teen about drugs.
7 Tips on How to Talk to Your Teen About Drugs without Them Shutting Down
As a parent, it’s natural to want to protect your child from making mistakes. But when it comes to talking about drugs, it’s important to strike a balance between offering advice and giving them the space to make their own decisions. Here are a few tips on how to approach the conversation.
1. Start Early
It’s never too soon to start talking about drugs with your kids. By opening up the lines of communication sooner than later, you’ll create an open and trusting relationship that will be more likely to withstand the challenges of adolescence.
2. Be Open-Minded
It’s essential to listen to your teen and give them the opportunity to share their thoughts and feelings without judgment. You may not agree with everything they say, but it’s important to respect their point of view. By showing them respect, they are more likely to reciprocate when you share your thoughts and feelings about drug use.
3. Be Honest
If it will benefit the conversation, share your own experiences with drugs. This will help your teen understand there are consequences for every decision we make in life. Because media and peers may portray drugs in a positive light, hearing the real-life impact can make a difference.
4. Offer Support
Let your teen know you’re there for them, no matter what choices they make. This can be especially important if they decide to or already have started experimenting with drugs. You want them to feel like they can come to you for help and advice without fear of judgment or lectures.
5. Set Boundaries
It’s important to let your teen know where you stand on drug use. If you have firm beliefs about drug use, make sure they know what those are and why you feel that way. You can let them know your boundaries and expectations, which will help them make informed decisions about their own behavior.
6. Be Patient
Teens often test boundaries as they try to figure out who they are and where they fit in the world. Offer support and guidance, but also give them the space to make their own mistakes and learn from them.
7. Seek Professional Help if Needed
If you’re worried about your teen’s behavior, don’t hesitate to seek professional help from a counselor or therapist who can offer support and guidance. Drug abuse and addiction are serious matters that can ruin a child’s life before it truly begins. It is better to be proactive than to sit back and regret not getting involved sooner.
What to Do If You Suspect or Know Your Teen is Using Drugs
If you know your teen is using drugs, taking action is essential. The first step is to talk to your child. This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s important to let them know that you’re there for them and you’re concerned about their safety. If your child is unwilling to talk, you may need to seek professional help. There are many counselors and therapists who specialize in helping teens cope with drug use. These professionals can provide guidance and support to both you and your child.
You should also consider joining an online support group for parents of teens with substance abuse problems. These groups can provide valuable information and emotional support. Finally, if you know your teen is abusing drugs, it might be time to start researching residential programs to help them stop or overcome their addiction. In all of this, make sure to keep communication open with your child. Let them know you love them and are there for them no matter what.
Find Support for Your Family Today
Knowing how to talk to your teen about drugs is a delicate balance. If it’s a preemptive conversation, it’s important to keep it general and not assume or accuse your child of substance abuse. If you know your teen is already using drugs, taking intentional action to get them help is essential. To start, reach out to a Parent Coach to help you navigate this time. If you still have questions, call a treatment center to discuss the next step in your child’s healing.
About the Author
Jenney Wilder, M.S.Ed launched All Kinds of Therapy in 2015, as the only independent online directory for the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry. With an impressive case of ADHD and her starter career in the 90’s in Silicon Valley, the dream for creating a website with features like side-by-side comparison and an integrated newsletter was born. Jenney stopped counting treatment centers and all types of schools that she has visited when she hit 500 many years ago. She was the sponsoring author of the only Economic Impact Study of the Family Choice Behavioral Healthcare Industry, which revealed the only true financial figures about this industry (in Utah). Jenney has a Master’s in Special Education from Bank Street College (NY) and a Bachelor of Arts focused on History from Wheaton College (MA).