How Can You Help Keep Kids off Drugs?
It is the topic of conversation every mum and dad go through with their kids; they talk about drugs. There are ways, however, that you can help to keep kids off drugs.
Parents used to only worry about children smoking cigarettes, while figures have dropped, there has been a rise in vaping, despite the health risks.
5% of youngsters in the US have also taken prescription painkillers. Taking these gateway substances, alongside drugs, alcohol and tobacco at a young age, can alter an adolescent’s natural brain’s functioning. Leading to addiction and abusing harder drugs in adulthood.
In most cases, drugs have become more potent than they were a generation ago. Access to drugs in schools has also become easier, now ubiquitous on school grounds and at teenage social events.
Here are some steps parents can take to help keep kids off drugs. The support of family members, responsible adults and role models can play an essential part in prevention.
Take Time To Talk With Your Teenager About Drugs
Talking with your teenager or young adult can be challenging. Having meaningful, ongoing conversations about drugs, however, is key to helping keep your son or daughter healthy and safe.
Here are 5 ways to help keep kids off drugs and help you talk with your son or daughter, nurture understanding and help you to break the communication barriers so that you feel more communicated with each other.
1. Try to pick an appropriate time & place.
Sit down and have a discussion on selected times like after dinner, before bedtime, before school or when you are taking them to school.
Go on a walk or a drive together. With less eye contact, your teenager won’t feel like he’s under scrutiny.
2. The most helpful way to have these conversations is in the form of “I” statements.
If you want to have a constructive conversation with your teenager about drugs and alcohol, try to remain calm and keep an open mind. That way, your teenager is more likely to be receptive to what you have to say.
For example, ask open-ended questions for a more engaging conversation. A “yes” or “no”, response is not what you are looking for.
Fully concentrate on what they are saying. Let your teenager know he or she is listened to by absorbing back what you hear — either literally or just the sentiment. It works like this: You listen without interference(no matter what), then ascertain what you’ve heard to allow him or her to agree. Try these phrases:
“It seems to me like you feel…”
“I hear you say you feel…”
“Am I right that you feel…”
Using “I” statements keeps the flow going. “I” statements let you speak without your teenager feeling judged, blamed or attached. You describe his behaviour, how you feel about it, and how it influences you. Then you spell out what you need. Like this:
“When you come home late at night I worry that something awful has happened. I need you to call me as soon as you know you are going to be late so that I know you are okay.
I feel you don’t listen to me about what I have to say when you are angry. Then I get frustrated “I feel like you can’t hear what I have to say when you’re so mad. We need to talk about this later when we’re both able to listen.”
I want to keep you safe because I love you. I worry about you going to the clubs and concerts. I need to know that you will keep to our rules about not drinking or using drugs.”
The “I” statement allows you to use suggestion (not control or blame) to cause a change in his or her behaviour. You also will enable them to decide what happens next — another key to connecting.
3. Understand what influence you have as a parent
In order to keep kids off drugs, it is important to talk and listen to your teenager. When it comes to drugs and alcohol teenagers, say that their parents are the most important influence. So try to speak together a lot.
Discuss the adverse effects of drugs and alcohol. Tell them that you do not want them using drugs. Talk to your child about the short and long-time effects drugs and alcohol can have to his or her mental and physical health. Explain that experimenting with drugs and alcohol is detrimental to their still-developing brain.
4. Kids say they learn a lot about the risks of drugs at home and are much less likely to use drugs.
Discuss with your child about what might occur if he or she does use drugs or alcohol.
This will allow your teenager to think about the outcomes, what their limits are around substance use and some possible negative consequences they may suffer from. Use everyday occasions in your life to point out things you’d like your child to know about.
Talk to them about celebrity headlines, or stories going on your own neighbourhood that show the ramifications of alcohol and drug use. If you and your child see a crowd of kids drinking, use the occasion to talk about the serious effects of drug and alcohol addiction.
When you are all together watching television, ask your child if the shows and advertising make drug use look acceptable and routine to them? Or do they show its damaging side?
Share stories of people you have experienced in recovery and stories of those lost to drugs or alcohol; they can be powerful teaching tools. Ask your teenager his or her thoughts and feelings after reading the stories.
View our Teenage Addictions Page to learn more about the drugs that are most popular with teenagers. Or test your knowledge about drugs in our Drug Quiz. Then ask your teenager about these drugs – does he know about them? Does she know what they are? Does anyone she knows to use these drugs? Any of his or her friends? Has anyone ever suggested or offered them alcohol or cannabis?
Having a history of addiction or alcoholism in your family means that your child has a much higher risk of developing a problem with drugs or alcohol. Being aware of this will help you deal with this issue.
Offering recognition and compassion lets your teenager know you understand. The teen years can be difficult. Agree that everyone suffers sometimes, but drugs and alcohol are not an effective or healthy way to cope with it. Let your child be aware and know that he/she can talk to you.
Help to keep kids off drugs or alcohol by assuring your child that you are there for support and guidance and that it’s vital to you that she/he is happy, healthy, and makes safe choices.
5. Understand that your teenager’s brain is still developing
The teenage brain does not fully develop until about age 25. This explains a lot about how your teenager communicates. For instance, because the prefrontal cortex, which is a part of the brain located at the front of the frontal lobe isn’t mature, your child may have a terrible time understanding facial expressions. (You may feel taken aback, but he or she thinks you’re annoyed.) Once you learn to recognise the typical teenage behaviour, you can control your automatic reactions to it and communicate more clearly.
Typical teen behaviour can trigger a lot of emotion in parents. If you can identify the response you may get from your teenager regarding drugs and alcohol this will allow you to manage your own response; you will be able to avoid letting your teenagers take control over the situation. Plus, you communicate better because your messages aren’t unclear by emotion.
Learn to spot typical teen behaviour so that you won’t lose nerve. Once you are aware that brain development can affect teen behaviour in some pretty extraordinary ways, you may see your teenager in a new light.
It can sometimes be difficult for parents to keep kids off drugs and alcohol. They wish to warn their children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, keeping them safe and on the path to a healthy lifestyle. It can be an uphill struggle sometimes, but there is help available. If you do feel your teenager has a problem with drugs or alcohol, you can contact Detox plus UK for help or with finding a rehab.
Our alcohol rehab treatment clinics work with you, first to understand the problems, and then to come up with a highly tailored treatment plan to suit. We have a variety of alcohol rehab programmes suitable to help young adults. The well trained and professional staff at Detox Plus UK are ready right now to answer your questions and to start the process. We can show you the way.