If there is one thing a teen hates hearing, it is when you say, “Because I said so.” Many parents pull out this go-to response when teens question the rules. For some teens, this response makes them even more eager to engage in the forbidden behavior. When talking to your teen about drug abuse, it is vital that you resist the urge to state that drugs are bad. Your teen will not understand the full array of potential consequences associated with drug use. When you speak to your teen about drugs, share with him the real reasons why he should refrain from drug abuse.
When teens begin dabbling in drugs, they rarely think that their recreational use will lead to addiction; however, it all to often does. As TeenDrugAbuse.com reports, addiction is the most common consequence of drug use. Teens who experiment with drugs may well find that what started out as a once in a while thing is becoming something that they can’t live without and that instead of being in control of their own lives, they have allowed drugs to slip into the driver’s seat.
Impact on Development
Unlike adult drug users, teens bodies and brains are still developing. Because they are still in the developmental stage of life, drug use can have an even more severe impact on them than their adult counterparts. The Troubled Teen 101 website reports that teens who use drugs are more likely to experience memory struggles, may have underdeveloped motor skills and are likely to have smaller brains, or even be physically shorter, than those who do not. Drugs can also impact the development of the emotional control centers within the brain, making it more challenging for these teens to handle their emotions and having an impact on their sexual development.
Academic Performance Decline
Many parents begin to worry about drug use when their teen’s once stellar report card record hits the skids. Many teens who abuse drugs suffer academic consequences for their actions. Teen drug abusers are more likely to miss school, as many of them slip out on classes, opting instead to do their drug of choice. They also often struggle when in class, as they are frequently under the influence of drugs during school hours, making it more difficult for them to learn.
Creating a Lifelong Drug User
While drug users of all ages are prone to relapse, those who begin using drugs during their teen years are even more likely to repeatedly return to drug use, reports WebMD. Researchers in the field believe these teens who abuse drugs have a more difficult time staying away from drugs because of the increased impact that drugs had on the user’s developing brain.
Use Family Dinner as Preventive Tool
Keeping your teen away from drugs may be easier than you think. In fact, it may be as simple as sitting down to a good meal. WebMD reports that teens who eat dinner with their families at least five times a week are less likely to use drugs. Research into the impact of family dinners indicates that those who do not sit down with their families for nightly meals are 1 1/2 times more likely to try marijuana, a drug that is considered by many to be a gateway to harder drug use.