When a young person begins using drugs, he or she is mostly on a road to addiction. For parents, the hope is that their child will overcome this bad habit before it is necessary to get treatment from a place like the Palm Beach Addiction Rehab Center. An even better desire is to do what is necessary to keep their child from ever indulging drugs. This might be easier for some than others. However, understanding the risks and what could trigger a desire to do drugs can put parents two steps ahead.
Times of transition can be a dangerous place for children who are still developing coping skills. For adults, the loss of a job or going Early Addiction Prevention through a divorce is challenging and could lead to abusing drugs. For teens, moving, changing schools or watching their parent divorce can be risky times. Another challenging transition is with early adolescents who advance from elementary school to middle school. The new challenges in social and academic situations may prove hard to adjust. Making matters worse is this age is when children are exposed to abusive substances that could take them down the wrong path. Some may dare to try cigarettes or alcohol for the first time; others might come in contact with illegal drugs. Transitioning to adolescence has its own challenges that are normal conditions of growing up. Children have a natural desire to take risks or try new things. For some, the new thing is to experiment with drugs.
Peer pressure and trying to adjust to their physical and emotional changes may increase their curiosity to try drugs for the first time. Using drugs at this age disrupts brain functions that are critical to a young person’s growth and development. This is the stage when motivation, judgment, behavior control, learning and memory begin to develop more. Therefore, it is not surprising that most adolescents and teens who use drugs have family and social problems. Some also perform poorly in school. Parents must keep a watchful eye to prevent their children from going too far. Stay Connected and Model the Behavior You Want to See in Your Teen One of the most important things parents can do as an act of early addiction prevention is to be a role model for their children. The parents’ attitude toward drugs, alcohol and even cigarettes becomes one of the biggest influences on their children. Yes, some will give in to peer pressure. Others, however, will look to their parents’ behavior – not so much words – to help them make the decision to turn away from the temptation. Other things parents can do:
Share their beliefs about drugs. Despite their seemingly deaf ear, most children listen to their parent’s advice. Therefore, parents should not be afraid to talk to their children about how drugs can affect their physical, emotional and mental health. Even if there is a family history of substance abuse, parents should make every effort to discourage their children from making the same choices.
Stay connected in their children’s lives. Yes, some children will think their parents are intruding, but knowing their friends and where they are at all times gives parents a level of control to keep their children out of risky situations.
Be fair and consistent. The risk of substance abuse increases when parents show extreme discipline. One day, a parent lays out the consequences of finding out their child is abusing drugs. The next day, the parent coddles the child when they find drug paraphernalia in their child’s bedroom. Despite their physical maturity, adolescents still need guidance and consistency from their parents. They are already trying to navigate their new age group. Consistency will give them a reference point.
Discuss the personal consequences. Doing drugs might feel like the cool thing to do with their peer today, but it is actually shaping a not-so-cool future. Parents need to explain that some behaviors can permanently change the course of a person’s life. They need to know that the use of controlled substances while growing into adulthood will hinder all the things they want to accomplish: graduating from high school and going to college, starting a career.
Draw attention to the legal consequences of doing drugs. Teens and adolescents need to be reminded that using any type of substance is illegal for people their age. Being under the influence can increase their risk of getting arrested or being hurt in a car accident. Parents should immediately seek assistance when they suspect their child is abusing drugs or alcohol. Just as they take their child to the doctor when they have a fever, parents should not ignore the warning, but talk to a counselor or clergy as soon as possible.