Your teens are back to school, which means the stress of keeping them out of trouble during summer is over, right? Wrong. There are even more reasons to be concerned about what your teens are up to.
While most parents think “my kid would never do drugs, they know it is wrong,” the fact is that one in five high school aged teens are using drugs. According to a study by National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, 17 percent of high-schoolers have admitted to using drugs during the school day. The start of the school year does not signal the end of trying to keep your kids safe.
There are a variety of reasons why kids may turn to drugs. Some common ones are:
To fit in with specific group of friends
It is important to talk to your teens about the risks that come with underage drinking and drug use. Most teens have a misconception that if they use the drug once, it won’t affect them – but that is simply not true. Our most seriously addicted adults today started using drugs or alcohol as teenagers.
So, how do you talk to your teen about this and avoid conflict?
Effective communication is at the center of any household and all parent-teen relationships. But a lack of communication can easily stir up controversy and cause multiple problems between parents and their teen.
Try and create deeper, richer conversations with your teen. As a parent, you’re modeling communication skills and this shows interest in your teen’s life, concerns and successes.
And, what if your teen is reluctant to talk?
Teens change both physically and emotionally during this time of their adolescence. While parents want, wish and hope their teen will talk to them about any concerns or issue they may be having, this is not always the case.
It’s important to try to avoid arguing with your teen, because as both of you get more emotional, it becomes harder to listen to each other. Help your teen feel comfortable by listening to their point of view before speaking, making eye contact and giving them your undivided attention.
Don’t linger on a certain problem; instead look for those opportunities to talk more to your teen and teach them how to handle risky situations and make safer choices.
Since the school year has just started, this is the perfect time to talk to your teens, and help them, and you, avoid bigger issues later.
For more information on ways to talk to your teen or learn about upcoming parent workshops or webinars visit DrugFreeAZ.org.