The last thing we want for our children is for them to get hurt or find themselves trapped in an unsafe situation. The number one circumstance we want to avoid at all cost is seeing them develop an addiction to drugs and alcohol. Therefore, as parents, we have a responsibility to keep our teens safe, guide them towards making the best choices for themselves, and still allow them to live their own lives.
This is how to keep your teens safe from alcoholism and addiction:
First and foremost, inform them of the risks
Alcoholism and drug addiction will unquestionably destroy one’s body and mind. Individuals who abuse substances are more likely to suffer organ damage and infertility, trigger seizures and psychosis, and even develop cancer. Having a conversation about these things with a teen keeps them aware of the risks and temptations of drugs or alcohol, thus building their understanding on how using illicit substances ultimately result in negative repercussions.
Constantly communicate with them
If you make the effort to constantly communicate with your teen, you demonstrate to them that you can be relied on as a friend for advice and feedback, and not just be known as the nagging parent who always tells them what to do. Furthermore, constant communication allows you to become aware of your teen’s daily life, their after-school activities, and their friend group. As a result, you will also notice small changes in their life and can immediately confront those concerns if needed.
Be a positive and reliable role model
Follow your own advice. Being hypocritical is one of the main reasons why your teen would neglect it. If you criticize them for the choices they make but never take responsibility for your own actions, you have no credibility with your teen or anyone for that matter whatsoever. Children are a product of their environment and parents, and sometimes the root cause of why certain problems continue in them lies in the example of the parents. You have more influence than you realize. Lastly, forgive them for their moments of ill-judgment or mistakes. If your teen admits to doing something wrong and feels guilty about it, they need you to accept and help them move forward from the experience, not be criticized and berated.
Make sure they cope with their stress and emotions in a healthy way
Alcohol and drugs not limited to use at social events, they are also utilized as private coping mechanisms for stress and emotions. For example, study drugs are a popular example of a stress coping mechanism for students. When feeling overwhelmed by their academic workload and personal obligations, it’s normal for them to want to escape the emotional pressure. Therefore, students have been turning to study drugs like Ritalin to violently propel their productivity levels and completely shut off the effects of stress. When on Ritalin, a person feels they can do anything since their mind is fueled by excess dopamine and energy.
To avoid this scenario, encourage your teen to take on more physical and creative hobbies that can healthily relieve and redirect their negative energy. Having multiple hobbies and creative outlets gives your teen a sense of purpose and a mental sanctuary when they want to take a break from the world or just be by themselves. You want to know as a parent that even in solitude away from your supervision, you can trust that your teen is coping in a healthy and fulfilling way.
Intervene only when absolutely necessary
The only instant we should intervene in our teen’s lives is when the state of their well-being is obviously deteriorating or concerning. If you know for certain that your teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, you can see it in their behavior and physical appearance. They will show neglect over their personal hygiene or seem like a different person entirely.
At the end of the day, our teens are a lot smarter and more aware than we give them credit for. However, it never hurts to be an assertive parent when it comes to the topic of drugs and alcohol. Addiction and alcoholism are no laughing matters and your teens should wholeheartedly agree with you on that. By your constant effort to communicate with them, watch over their well-being from a respectable distance, and intervening only when necessary, you never have to worry about your child suffering the pitfalls of drug addiction or alcoholism.
About The Author:
Trevor is a freelance writer and recovering addict & alcoholic who’s been clean and sober for over 5 years. Since his recovery began, he has enjoyed using his talent for words to help spread treatment resources, addiction awareness, and general health knowledge. In his free time, you can find him working with recovering addicts or outside enjoying any type of fitness activity imaginable.