Adolescent Substance Abuse
How do I talk to my teen?
This can be a difficult and often emotionally-challenging task. Parents come in so many forms. There are the “helicopter” parents that hover over their children, watching every move.
There are they “buddy” parents, who want to be friends with their children. Some parents are not involved at all with their children, while others limit their interaction to only the necessary tasks. There is a vast majority of parents who just try to do the right thing.
Let’s cut to the chase. You are the parent, so be the parent. As a parent, you want to be involved with your child. Preventative measures concerning the use of drugs and alcohol are important for parent. Just talking to your kids is huge. When you do have a conversation, understand that talking to your teens should be a dialogue, not a monologue. Commonly, teens think their parents are pretty lame, stupid, uninformed, old fashioned and out of touch. That’s a given. Commonly parents think they should lecture the child and not listen to what that child has to say. You can see that any communication is difficult when neither party wants to hear.
Teenagers are people, so talk to them like people. You can be authoritative without being authoritarian. What is your teen’s understanding of drug abuse? What have they experienced in their school, with their friends? What is a point of commonality that you can use to make a connection with your kid? Listen for that. They will probably have ideas that are counter to your own, so listen to them and try to pick up on themes and common points to find agreement. So often the conversation turns into an argument because the teen or the parent gets mad. “You’re not listening to me!”
Think of communicating with your teen as a process. Teens tune out the parents because the parents lack credibility with them. I am older than most people who read this response, but I can vividly remember my teenaged years and how difficult it was to get my parents to listen to me. It was hard for them to just listen, mainly because they did not agree with my reasoning, or even how I felt about anything. I was always wrong. They were always right. Allow your teen to express their ideas and feelings. Talking to your kids about drugs isn’t a debate; it’s a conversation, an exchange of ideas. If you are willing to listen, you might want them to tell you about drugs. You can ask the questions, just as if you were talking to a drug abuse professional. The idea is to get them thinking about the answers to questions. If it’s their idea, chances are better that they’ll engage and maybe discover for themselves the seriousness of the subject.
Teenagers are no strangers to drugs in the schools. They may not be equipped to answer important and complex questions about drugs, but they know who is using and they know where they can buy drugs. They have this feeling of invisibility, so if they are using, it’s not a problem because they’re going to live forever. They’re growing up and discovering so many new things. You need to tune into that experience. Remember your own youth and how you felt. Look for the common experience and demonstrate your understanding of their viewpoints.
Don’t point fingers at them, or issue ultimatums and threats. Rather, try to make a loving connection with them, to allow them to see a larger picture. They need to know you love them, so tell them so. Listen to them and give them ample opportunity to open up and talk to you. As the old saying goes, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.” This is a good saying to remember.
Be the parent. Love your children. Be in charge.
For more answers to Adolescent Substance Abuse questions concerning teens click here
Do you have more Adolescent Substance Abuse questions? Click on the What should I do if button on the left for more answers to Adolescent Substance Abuse questions.
16 and selling myself :(
I was 13 when i started smoking pot, 15 when i started doing e and 16 when i started doing prescription drugs with all the speed, coke and e i could find.
About two weeks after i started eating pills i was selling myself to get more. I stole everything i could from my parents, i sold myself over and over to different men for drugs and i was homeless for almost a year.
In a flash i was staying awake for 10-11 days and doing things to the people i loved the most that today bring tears to my eyes. I stole everything i could get my hands on, i had to shop clothes for 12 year old's and i almost killed myself more than once.
Today, I'm a recovering mom doing my best to take one day at a time and looking back at the person i was and thanking God for bringing me back to earth. I'm proud of the things I'm doing and it's all thanks to the 12-step program.
If somebody out there reads this and has the same problem, please get help before it's too late. I just buried my friend 3 days ago and it's not a joke how quickly this will kill you.
by: Ned Wicker
The beauty of the 12-Step process is that it brings body, mind and spirit back to wholeness. I am very pleased that you are in recovery and can once again love your children and enjoy your family. You have your life back.
Sadly, there are so many young people who do not believe it is possible to recover their lives, and even sadder that the addiction robs them of their humanity and ability to recognize anything of value in life.
A substance use disorder strips away our ability to reason and understand that we are in so much trouble and you know that all to well. The diseased mind only wants more drugs, regardless of what the addiction does to the person.
I am so very sorry about your friend. That is the unintended consequence of using drugs. The reality of this kind of life is that it leads one way unless it is stopped.
People do not intentionally become an addict, but they become prey to a hungry predator who grabs hold and doesn’t let go. It turns otherwise bright and promising young people into mindless zombies, living on the streets, one fix away from the end of life. You think about what could have been. You mourn the loss of these people.
The people in the 12 Step programs understand what real friendship is about. When you go to meetings, you meet people who are genuine, who care and who will watch your back.
They are people you can count on because they know you and love you for who you are. The unbridled support, the acceptance in a recovery group is like no other.
You are clean and sober now. This is cause for celebration. It’s a life reclaimed. Allow yourself to live and grow. All the best.