Numerous factors contribute to teen drug abuse–some of which turn into a life-long habit. But what are these risk factors and how can we combat drug use at an early age?
Lack of Parent to Child Communication
Teen drug abuse could be reduced if parents would talk to their kids about drug and alcohol abuse. If parents alert teens of the dangers associated with drugs and alcohol, more teens would avoid substances altogether.
Teens who think their parents don’t care are also more likely to pick up bad habits. Talk to your teen on a regular basis about their day, friends, school and other relevant topics. Parents who are there for their teens when they get home from school or after a night out with friends are more likely to have children who don’t abuse drugs and alcohol. If a teen knows there is a “check point” at home, they will be more likely to stay away from drugs and alcohol for fear of getting in trouble.
Tip: The use of statistical data can be very helpful in keeping your kids informed. Get online and show them the hard hitting facts.
Trying to Fit In at School
While drugs and alcohol are prohibited at school, teens always find their way around it. If the cool kids at school are doing it, odds are your child might be using and abusing too, in order to fit in. Talk to your kids about their friends and who they are hanging out with when at school.
Do you keep alcohol at home? Is it possible that your child could steal from your stash when you are not in the home? If you answered yes, then you are exposing yourself to legal liability. This not only applies to alcohol, but other drugs, cigarettes and prescriptions found in most American households.
Keep prescriptions, alcohol, cigarette and other harmful substances in a locked cabinet or drawer. Make sure your child understands that taking or using any of the prohibited substances is not acceptable.
Tip: To make certain teens are not stealing, regularly check levels of all substances. Use a marker to draw a line on a bottle, or count the number of pills in your container.
Too Much Freedom
More teens are being left in the home while mom, dad or other adults are at work. Teens who are left along for long periods of time or who are allowed to come and go as they please will undoubtedly have greater opportunity for exposure to drugs.
Most teens use drugs and alcohol when going to friends’ homes, spending the night out or when attending parties. Make sure to ask teens where they are going and contact information so they can be contacted when outside the home. Let them know that at any time, you could call or drive by which will reduce the urge to lie about where they are.
Tip: Ask your teen to check in at specific times. Voice the consequences of not checking in.