If you’re a parent with a teen who drinks or uses drugs, you may be concerned about the development of an addiction. You might be worried about your teen’s continued use of the drug or alcohol making it difficult for him or her to stop. This article will provide some tips to prevent teen addiction so that your child can face the challenges of life without the use of substances.
Here is a list of tips to help your teen avoid addiction:
1. Teach your teen relaxation techniques. If you’d like to put an end to your teen’s substance use in order to prevent addiction, you may need to find out why your teen is using in the first place. For instance, if you feel that your child uses drugs and alcohol in order to manage stress, then you might want to teach your teen to do some deep breathing, meditation, or yoga. You might go for a long and slow walk together. Or you might teach your teen how to manage peer pressure if you believe that your child is using substances to maintain friendships. (Look for articles on peer pressure on this blog.)
2. Model emotional awareness. As you can imagine, the inability to manage emotions can lead to dysfunctional coping mechanisms such as drug use, drinking, cutting, aggression, and other forms of risky behavior. If your teen is using drugs to help manage challenging emotions, you can assist him or her with becoming more aware of what she’s feeling and when. In fact, if your teen can learn to manage stress, he can also learn to manage emotions. The ability to manage stress is the same ability required to manage emotions. The two go hand in hand. When you teach your teen about emotional awareness, you teach them to slow down, become aware of their emotions, and how to respond to emotions versus react to them.
4. Get to know your teen’s peer group. If you find that there’s a person your teen is spending time with that you don’t approve of, limit or prohibit your teen’s time with that friend. You might stay more on top of where your teen is going and when. You might even spend more time with your teen so that they are not spending time with friends you don’t approve of. And lastly, you might ask that your teen provide you with the numbers of all their friends they are spending time with.
3. Ask yourself if you are enabling your teen’s substance use. Enabling might feel like helping but it isn’t. In fact, if you’re doing something that your teen should be doing for himself, you might be enabling them. For instance, here are some questions to ask yourself:
- Have I ever called your teen’s school and told them that he had the flu when he was really hung over?
- Do I find myself making excuses for your teen’s unacceptable behavior?
- Have I dismissed my teen’s drug use “as just a phase”?
- Have I withheld the truth from a teacher, friend, or even the police in order to cover for my teen’s mistakes?
- Does my teen belittle me if I don’t comply to his or her wishes?
These are some suggestions to consider for curbing your teen’s substance use and helping to prevent an addiction. However, if you suspect that your teen is already addicted to drugs and/or alcohol contact a mental health provider for help today.
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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.