It’s a sad fact that troubled teens or at-risk young people are highly likely to be involved in drug and/or alcohol abuse. It they’re in trouble then drugs and alcohol abuse will almost certainly be present.
This is frightening news for any parent of a teenager and the best advice is to prevent it in the first place. If you can keep your teen away from the at-risk category you will have gone a long way to prevent substance abuse being a part of your child’s life.
The experts say the best way to help your teen is by being hands on in their upbringing. It is a risky strategy not to communicate often and well with your children. Teens in particular want the facts. If they don’t hear them from their parents they will look elsewhere. The best advice is communicate with your kids.
By having a strong, respectful and loving relationship with your teen, you will be able to naturally explain the many issues which confront them in life. Stranger danger is a good example of how you can talk to your child when he or she is quite young.
Then when the child is older and issues of sexuality, drug and alcohol abuse are relevant, a strong but sensible discussion can be held. If you have developed a good bond with your child, they will happily listen to your advice. Ignorance is not a good thing as your child enters their teens. Teaching them not just the facts but also the morality and respect for yourself and others is vital.
If you as a parent are unsure of how to approach topics such as drug and alcohol abuse, there are many resources which assist parents in discussing sensitive issues. Whatever you do, do not remain silent.
‘Tough love’ is a much used expression today. It may apply to you. Teenagers are different today in that they have access to equipment which their parents never even knew about let alone owned. Kids can communicate by mobile phone and email to anyone anywhere. Many parents wonder about invading the privacy of their child’s world. Is it ever right to behave in this way?
Perhaps the answer is to develop trust with your child so that they willingly come to you to discuss a problem they have. If they know you will not condemn them but have their good health and happiness at the forefront of your thinking, they will come clean and talk things through.
You can of course keep a subtle eye on your child. Watch their school grades, check out their friends, investigate the hobbies of your child and take note of how long they spend alone in their bedroom. If you think there are worrying signs about the behavior of your child, a heart to heart discussion may help solve the problem.
But doing nothing if things are not good is clearly not an option. Sometimes a chat with your family doctor can be a big help. Having your child examined by the family doctor who can politely ask about any problems is another way to carefully manage your at-risk child.
Here are additional resources you might be interested in: