The upswing in teen drug use and abuse is continuing unabated. More teens are seeking teen substance abuse treatment centers and checking into teen rehab. But how can you stop your teen becoming another statistic?
Here are 10 ways you that you can help keep you child off drugs:
1. Know the signs of teen drug use.
Hopefully you are able to prevent drug use altogether, but you should also watch for signs of teen drug use, which can include depression, falling grades, isolation, and change in friends. If you notice these signs in your teen, seek professional help.
2. Keep all prescription drugs locked away.
If someone in your family does take prescription drugs, be sure that your teen cannot get their hands on them. So many young people today have easy access to all sorts of drugs in their parents’ medicine cabinets. Don’t make it easy for them to try drugs.
3. Keep your child active.
Teens that have a goal they are working toward in life or are busy with sports or music are much less likely to get involved with drugs.
4. Take care of their emotions.
Teens today are under a lot of pressure with school, sports, work, relationships, etc. Watch for signs that your teen is under too much pressure or too stressed. Teach them good relaxation techniques so that they learn to handle stress properly, rather than letting it get in the way. Too much stress can turn into an anxiety disorder if not dealt with properly.
5. Model good behavior.
If your teen sees you doing things like getting drunk, smoking, or self-medicating somehow, they will be more likely to do so themselves, and sometimes this can lead to worse habits, like drug or alcohol abuse. Be the example for your teen and model good behavior.
6. Don’t leave your child unsupervised for long.
In a world where many families require 2 incomes or single parents are raising children, this may be difficult, but it is so important to not just leave your child to fend for themselves after school. The time when most teens get into trouble or start a harmful behavior is the time between school letting out and when their parents get home.
7. Know your child’s friends.
If you are suspicious of whom your teen is spending time with, talk to them. Invite the friends over to your house to get to know them. If you have concerns about their friends, talk to your child about it.
8. Know where your teen is.
Teens should follow household rules about curfew and keeping you informed about where they are going. If something doesn’t seem quite right, don’t be afraid to question your child about where they’ve been. You are the adult and the sooner your child sees that you are going to check up on them, the better.
9. Talk to your child about drugs, and do it early.
An ongoing dialog is the best way for your teen to know that you have an understanding of the temptations they face, and are going to do what you can to help them. Do your part in creating an open line of communication between you and your teen. If they know that they are able to talk to you, then they are more likely to come to you for advice when faced with issues like drugs and alcohol.
10. Know your child.
If you work on your relationship with your child when they are young, then it will be easier to talk about drugs and know what they are up to when they are older. So, build a bond early so it can survive those tough teenage years.
Paradigm Malibu is an adolescent mental health and drug treatment center dedicated to identifying, understanding and properly treating the core issues that impact teens and their families.