Drug abuse is a real problem. Unfortunately, far too many are introduced to the idea of drugs at such a young age, particularly the teen years. That is why today, I wanted to share some ways on How to Prevent Teen Drug Abuse so you can help put an end to drug abuse.
How to Prevent Teen Drug Abuse
As parents, we strive to provide our children’s lives with ways for them to live happy, healthy, and productive lives. Unfortunately, as our children are released into the world to become their own person, they are introduced to all sorts of influences including the influence of drug use. But, there are ways you as a parent can help prevent teen drug abuse. The best way (and one you may hear often) is to simply talk with your teen. However, you want to be prepared with information so when you do talk to your teen, you are saying things that can and will affect their decision to say no to drugs. It all starts with you and how you start the conversation. In fact, the Child and Family Center at the University of Oregon, with support from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, has developed 5 questions that you can ask yourself prior to talking with your teen. For each question, a video clip shows positive and negative examples of the skill, and additional videos and information are provided to help you practice positive parenting skills. After all, positive parenting skills help when talking with your teen. Questions to ask yourself:
- Are you able to communicate calmly and clearly with your teenager regarding relationship problems?
- Do you encourage positive behaviors in your teenager on a daily basis?
- Are you able to negotiate emotional conflicts with your teenager and work toward a solution?
- Are you able to calmly set limits when your teenager is defiant or disrespectful? Are you able to set limits on more serious problem behavior such as drug use, if or when it occurs?
- Do you monitor your teenager to assure that he or she does not spend too much unsupervised time with peers?
Once you can answer those questions, you should be ready to talk to your teen. You can start a conversation by asking your teen if they understand how serious drug abuse truly is. You can even use this opportunity to take the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge which is a 12-question multiple choice quiz that teens and adults can take to test their knowledge about drugs. Parents can take the IQ Challenge and use the results to start a conversation with their teen about drugs and alcohol.
While there is no perfect way to spark a conversation about drug use with your children, having any conversation is better than none. With National Drug & Alcohol Facts Week® (NDAFW) on the way (January 22-28, 2018) now is the perfect time to get talking! This is an annual observance that brings together teens and scientific experts to shatter myths about substance use and addiction. It is sponsored by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), both part of the National Institutes of Health. The week-long observance was launched in 2010 to counteract the myths about drugs and alcohol that teens often hear from the Internet, TV, movies, music, or friends. Since its inception, the number of community-based events held to SHATTER THE MYTHS® has grown dramatically, with more than 2,000 held last January throughout all 50 states and several international sites. Events link teens with scientists and other experts, creating a safe place for teens to ask questions about drug and alcohol use, without judgment or lectures. It marks the perfect time to start talking about drug abuse with your teens. NDAFW has amazing resources (like the ones mentioned above) and even tips on What to do if your teen has a problem with drugs So, take this opportunity to talk to your teens and help prevent teen drug abuse.