A lot of the time, it can be hard to get your teenager to talk to you about anything, let alone drug use. However, as a parent, it is critical that you talk to your teenager about drug use, which includes alcohol. “Clear communication by parents about the negative physical, emotional, and functional effects of drugs, as well as about their expectations regarding drug use have been found to significantly decrease substance abuse in teens.”
Statistics show that as teens age, they are more likely to have tried a substance. For example, in 2008 16% of eighth graders had participated in underage drinking, a number that jumped to 29% of 10th graders. In 2010, 30% of 10th graders said they had used marijuana in the past year, and more than double that number said they could get it easily. This underscores the importance of talking to your teenager about drug use early.
How to Talk to Your Teenager About Drug Use
Teens don’t like being lectured to, and may be inclined just to block you out if you approach them from this angle. Instead, engage in a dialogue with your child. Elicit their opinions and questions by making statements instead of asking questions. Talk about what they’ve seen or heard in school or in the media. The media can glamorize drug use, so make sure to cover these messages and their fallacies. In school or with peers, they may face peer pressure. Ask them how they could resist peer pressure.
Scare tactics put teens on the defensive. Talk about how drug use could affect things that are important in your child’s life, such as school, sports, and appearance. Talk about potential legal consequences as well. Make sure to discuss how drug use can affect their life in both the short and long term.
Be Ready For Questions
Teens may have questions during your conversation, specifically about your drug use. If you have used drugs, use your own judgment and discretion when discussing this with your child. Talk about the consequences of your drug use to frame it as a learning experience, and how your child can avoid these consequences by avoiding drugs.
About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore, MD our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. To speak with someone at our office, please call us at 410-853-7691. You can also contact us via email, and follow us on Facebook, Google+, Twitter and LinkedIn.