There are several myths and misconceptions that teens have about alcohol and drug use, which resulted in them having willfully tried and even chosen the path or abuse and addiction.
While there are many factors to consider for someone to become addicted, such as behavior, environment and predisposition, they are more likely to develop an addiction if they experiment with illicit substances and if they are genetically predisposed to addiction. Whatever the case is, substance addiction is a chronic and progressive disease that spurs a dramatic change in your teen, turning achievers and healthy kids into strangers who are concerned only about their next fix.
Teens are naturally impressionable. They are normally curious about their world and this includes substances and the world of illicit drug use, making them highly susceptible to addiction.
Substance abuse is very dangerous to growing teens because their brains and bodies are not yet fully developed. They run the risk of having stunted physical and psychological development. They are also more likely to resort to delinquent and criminal behaviors, which may then have a huge, negative impact to the rest of their lives.
Seeing your child succumb to substance experimentation and abuse can be terrifying as it conjures grim images to your mind of what trouble or future awaits your child. This is why it is crucial for you, parents of teens who are abusing drugs, to intervene before your child completely loses his or her life to addiction.
1. Educate yourself. Know the reasons, signs, and effects of substance abuse, and what to look out for in your own child. Being equipped with enough facts and adequate knowledge is critical. You should also know about the difficulty of intervention and recovery, and how you can support your child once you decide to put him or her into rehab.
2. Have a plan. Once you are certain that your child is abusing drugs, be prepared to confront him or her about it. Anticipate possible responses and reactions, even violence or anger. Be prepared from excuses as well. As a parent, be committed to meting out consequences from your child’s actions, even if it includes getting them treated.
3. The right place and time. Before you confront your teen, be sure to do this in an environment that is safe for both of you, where you can talk clearly without being distracted. It is important that your teen will also feel comfortable and safe instead of cornered or humiliated. Avoid public places and avoid having other uninvolved family members to be in the room when you talk.
4. Compassion is key. Make sure to convey compassion and understanding to your child. Try to see it from the teen’s point of you as well, and make them see that you’re trying to put yourself in their place. Once they are comfortable to open up, your teen can now share what motivated or pushed him or her to abuse drugs or alcohol.
5. Explaining the dangers. As you progress through your discussion, clearly explain to your child the effects and dangers of substance abuse. Give him or her a picture of what abuse can do to his or her life and future.
This can be a very difficult and tumultuous time for your family, but once you do this right, you will find that it can also serve as a significant turning point that will make you a more united family as a whole.
Explore Your Options
If you are certain that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, or if he or she is on the path towards addiction, Bridges of Hope can help. We have a team of rehab specialists available for free consultations to find out the treatment that best suits your child.