According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, about 32% of 12th graders reported abusing drugs in 2022. From peer pressure to curiosity, many teenagers today experiment with drugs, which puts them at a heightened risk of struggling with substance abuse and drug addiction. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be difficult to know how to talk to teens about substance abuse and the dangers of addiction. That’s why in this article, you’ll learn more about how to talk to teens about substance abuse.
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5 Ways to Talk to Teens About Substance Abuse
- Create a Safe and Non-Judgemental Space
Knowing how to talk to teens about substance abuse can be difficult. You must create a safe and non-judgmental space to have an open discussion with your teen about substance abuse and addiction. The last thing you want to do is scold your teen if you suspect they are abusing drugs or punish them for coming forward to you about struggling with drug addiction. If you scold or judge a teen for speaking up about their struggles with addiction, then they will be less likely to come to you in the future with their addiction struggles.
- Talk About the Dangers of Peer Pressure
Once you’ve created a safe and open space for talking to teens about drugs, it’s important to talk to your teen about the dangers of peer pressure. Peer pressure is one of the primary ways in which teens start to experiment with drugs and alcohol. Therefore, educating teens on what peer pressure looks like and the importance of surrounding themselves around friends who won’t be a bad influence on them is important.
- Set Consequences and Keep Them
Next, it’s important to set boundaries and consequences with your teen when it comes to abusing drugs or alcohol. For example, if you notice signs that your teen may be abusing drugs or alcohol, enforce consequences like they aren’t allowed to hang out with friends or take their phone away for some time. Your teen needs to recognize that you will not tolerate them abusing drugs or alcohol.
- Discuss Healthy Coping Strategies
If your teen is struggling with drug addiction, it’s important to seek professional support to help them overcome that addiction. But, it’s also important to help your teen develop healthy coping strategies, especially if they are abusing drugs or alcohol to relieve mental illness symptoms. Talk to your teen about different healthy coping strategies from running to journaling that they can turn to when they are feeling stressed or experiencing mental illness symptoms.
- Offer Addiction Treatment and Mental Health Resources
Last but not least, your teen should feel comfortable going to you and asking for help in overcoming addiction if they have a substance abuse problem. The last thing you want to do is have your teen hide and feel isolated because of their drug addiction.
And, when/ if your teen comes to you for help in overcoming their addiction, it’s important you help them find an addiction and/or mental health resources that are right for their unique recovery needs. For instance, some teens with mild addictions may benefit from outpatient treatment, while teens battling severe addictions may benefit best from receiving inpatient care.
Ready to Break Free of Addiction
Knowing how to talk to teens about substance abuse can oftentimes be difficult. However, creating an open and non-judgmental space to talk to teens about drug use can help start the conversation and help more teens steer clear of abusing drugs and alcohol. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, help is available.
At Arista Recovery, we’re here to help you safely and effectively overcome addiction so you can achieve a healthier life. You should never have to suffer in silence with your addiction. Our compassionate team is here to help you every step of the way on your road to recovery. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you break free of addiction.