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2 Tips for Talking To Your Teen About Substance Abuse and Addiction

5th Nov 2016

As a modern parent, it can be difficult connecting with your child in a way that makes both of you happy. Just like when you were a teenager, your teens think you can’t possibly understand what they’re going through or relate to them. And while there are things that are different between your childhoods, the overwhelming themes of being a teenager remain the same.

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One of these themes revolves around substance abuse and addiction. It’s the intent of every parent to keep their child as safe as possible, regardless of the cost. And although statistics show that certain types of substance abuse for teens are dropping off, there are still more problems than there should be. So to help your child avoid a lifelong struggle with addiction, here are two tips for talking to your teen about substance abuse.

Start By Asking, Not Telling

Broaching the topics of alcohol and drug use with your teen can be a little awkward, especially if you’re unsure where to start or don’t have a very open relationship in the first place. For those in this type of situation, DrugFree.org recommends asking open-ended questions as a way to entice your teen into having an open conversation with you. This means that rather than just telling them that drugs are bad or not to drink until they’re of age, you ask them what they think about certain situations. This will help you see where you need to start from with your conversation and encourage them to be an active participant.

Address the Negatives Pop Culture Doesn’t Always Show

In TV and movies, teens shown abusing drugs or alcohol often don’t portray the harmful effects of these substances. Therefore, your teen may have a skewed idea as to how using drugs or alcohol could impact their life.

When talking to your teen about drugs and alcohol, it’s important that you address the negatives that pop culture often glosses over. However, you should try to avoid playing too much on the emotions and rather rely heavily on the facts. DrugAbuse.gov recommends sharing information like how marijuana can be addictive and give you a poorer quality of life. You could also discuss accidents related to drug or alcohol abuse that result in physical problems or death to show just how serious abusing substances can be.

If you’ve been struggling with knowing how to speak to your teen about substance abuse, consider using some of the tips mentioned above. Kate Green, a contributor to PsychCentral.com, suggests not talking about your own experiences but rather keeping the focus on your child. With the right discussion, you may be a big help toward maintaining a healthy lifestyle for your child all the way through adulthood.

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