Drug and alcohol addiction is a grave problem among teens around the world. Children should be taught about the danger of alcohol and drug abuse from a very young age. Parents should be aware of the fact that children are vulnerable. They can get easily attracted to the risk of experimenting with these substances.
It is a leading cause of premature deaths in the young generation of the country. The adverse consequences of substance abuse disorder can be preventable through interventions.
Parents need to know the protective measures that can be utilized at different stages of a child’s life. Young adults can also gather knowledge about this from several other media like TV, internet, news, movies, and school.
Which teens are at higher risk of getting addicted?
Some of the teens are at more risk levels of alcohol and drug abuse compared to the rest. Young adults who suffer from depression and anxiety are prone to fall into this to achieve a sense of relief. Some teens are facing stress due to any social or psychological circumstances, due to changes in school, emotional turmoil, or isolation.
Children at the age of 16 may easily develop a tolerance and can start depending on it. By the age of 20, the individual can develop a full-grown substance abuse disorder. Children who have faced any traumatic incidents like accidents, sexual abuse, or physical abuse are also prone to start substance abuse at the later stage of their lives. Few teens are residing in families having a history of drug or alcohol abuse. They are at a high risk of getting addicted and fall into danger.
What are the preventive measures to avoid?
Parents are the primary members who can help their children from using alcohol and drugs. These preventive measures are:
- Open communication with your children
The best way to deal with this is to start an open communication with your teens. Talk to them calmly and maturely as they are young adults. Tell the harmful effects of drugs and alcohol on health, relationships, and the future. Be prominent about your feelings regarding this.
- Teach them to say ‘no’ from childhood
Due to peer pressure, children get involved in substance abuse. They try to fit in with a group of friends. Teach them the ways of how to refuse drugs and alcohol. Make them practice saying ’no’ if anybody offers them. When people pressurize them to do certain things, they are not good friends and should be avoided for their safety.
- Mutual involvement in lives
Instead of gifting expensive gifts to your children, gift them your presence and attention. Involve them in your life’s decisions. You get involved in their lives as well. Spend time together to give them respect and listen to their queries. Arrange family dinners or device-free time together. Keep track of your child’s whereabouts, friends, and school activities.
- Texting your teen
You can keep in touch with them by sending positive messages over the phone. If your child is away from home due to studies, text frequently to make him/her remember the positive conversations. It need not be a long post; you can send voice messages to make them feel better.
- Enforce ground rules
Try to set a few ground rules from childhood. This way, your child will learn to know the boundaries. Enforce those rules fairly so that they feel safe. Teens need to follow rules so that they understand what can harm them.
- Be a good role model for them
Parents are the most influential role models for children. It is important to make them realize about sensible drinking behaviors. Children from a very young age start imitating their parents. So never drink and drive. Try to teach them the downsides of heavy drinking like vomiting, hangovers, or passing out.
- A safe home
Keep your home safe from drugs or alcohol. Try to avoid people coming to your house with a record of alcohol or drug abuse.
- Family influence
Prevent conversations about drug and alcohol abuse can be initiated by the family members. Children should understand their boundaries while parents can positively influence them. This will create a stronger bond between parents and children, which will be helpful at the later age of them.
- Educational tools
To prevent teen drug abuse, several educational tools are developed to teach children how to lead a drug-free life. These programs are conducted by various schools, government agencies, or community helpers to teach them the risk factors and problematic behaviors caused due to drug abuse.
- Teach them how to handle stress
Drugs and alcohol can’t be a stress-reliever. Teach them how to handle stress without depending on any such harmful things that have adverse effects on life. There are healthy ways to tackle stress. Educate your teenagers about dangerous behaviors like unsafe sex and accidents due to drink-driving.
How to teach your kids?
Parents should start speaking to kids from preschool age regarding drug and alcohol abuse. This may not be a complex discussion that will complicate a child’s mind. Find a comfortable time frame where you can discuss using teachable methods.
Utilize the moments when you all are watching television together. Any instances where smoking or drinking are shown on television, grab the opportunity to explain the harmful effects, how kids should be aware, etc. in simple language. Speak to your kid in a calm voice with a non-judgemental tone encouraging open-ended questions.
Make your teens aware of the negative consequences of drug and alcohol abuse like risk driving, unsafe sex, serious dependence, impaired brain development, health issues, and death. If you find any suspicious event with your teen, talk to a consultant or medical practitioner before it gets escalated to some serious outcome.
The article is entirely for informational and educational purposes and should not be referred to as medical advice or treatment. For any medical emergencies, refer to your nearest medical help to ensure support.