Teen drug use is an unfortunately prevalent problem. As Students Against Drunk Driving reports, 50 percent of all teens have tried a drug before the time they graduate high school. This usage statistic may make it seem an unstoppable problem; however, there are some things you can do to decrease the likelihood that your teen will fall into the trap of drugs. While nothing you do can ensure that your teen stays drug free, intervening early in your child’s life can make a large difference and may keep her off the drug-laden path.
Educate your teen on the dangers of drug use. If you avoid the subject of drugs when talking with your teen, you will likely produce a curious child who is unaware of the dangers associated with drug experimentation. Although these conversations about drugs can be uncomfortable for both of you, it is vital that you have them. When discussing drugs, avoid being preachy. Aim, above all else, to inform your teen of the hazards of drugs so she can make an educated decision.
Be a good role model. Make it clear to your teen that you are against drug use. While you likely already don’t do drugs yourself, you can make your abhorrence of drug behavior even clearer by commenting on news stories or the behavior of others when you see drug use indicated. By showing your teen that you stand firm against drugs, you may encourage him to do the same.
Communicate openly with your teen. Show your teen that she can come to you in times of need. If your teen feels like you are unapproachable, she will likely turn to friends or what she views as a simple experiment if she has drug-related questions. Encourage communication by regularly asking your teen about her life, taking an interest in her friends and showing her that you care about her interests and values.
Consider drug testing. Choosing to drug test your teen can be a risky proposition, as it can create an adversarial relationship with your teen; however, if you feel that your teen has already been experimenting with drugs, engaging in drug testing may be the only way to uncover the truth about your teen’s behavior. Today, parents can engage in drug-testing of their teen’s without assistance, using at home drug tests. Before you opt to go this route, speak to your child’s physician and ask his opinion of the practice to ensure your go into the situation informed.
Seek professional assistance. If your teen has already developed a drug problem, it may not be possible for you to deal with this issue alone. Don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance in the form of a counselor or drug treatment program. While asking for help can be difficult, you child’s future could be riding on it.