Why Parents of Teens Should Inform Themselves About Drugs
One of the many worries parents of teens often have is that their son or daughter may start ‘doing drugs’. Of course, there are legitimate reasons for this concern – drugs are illegal, can lead to serious addiction problems, can have serious health implications, and can have a negative effect on their studies, or their social lives. However, while most parents are concerned about this issue, many remain very uninformed, and this can make it very difficult to communicate with your kids about these things in a way that they will listen to. Here, we take a look at why it pays to be informed about drugs when you are raising a teen.
Not All Drugs Are Equal
When it comes to street drugs, there are plenty of things out there that teens can be offered or exposed to, and fashions in what teens are taking change over time and by location. While one of the most serious drugs in terms of health effects and addiction is heroin, in some communities or social groups a teen may never meet anyone who has ever taken it, so you need to know enough about drugs to know that the knee jerk reaction that any teen who has tried a drug has a life threatening heroin addiction is usually an overreaction that will seem preposterous to a streetwise kid.
Learn about the different types of recreational and street drugs, learn which are the most serious in the eyes of the law (marijuana is,for example, legal in some places, so while you may not want your child using it, its legal status varies). Find out which drugs are the most addictive and dangerous and what the associated risks with each one are. By doing this, you can have a calm conversation with your child about why these drugs are harmful and why you don’t want them to take them, rather than seeming hysterical about an issue you don’t understand at the level they might.
Understand How to Spot Drug Use or Addiction
Teens try drugs for different reasons, and it is important to be able to understand that experimenting is different from using drugs to escape from other underlying social or emotional issues. Learning the signs that indicate drug use is one thing, but also understanding the behaviours teens can exhibit if they are experiencing problems that could make them more vulnerable to taking drugs habitually, such as bullying, social anxiety, depression, or stress can also help you to help them seek the right sort of help. If drug use becomes addiction, often residential drug treatment that includes therapy as well as chemical detoxing can be necessary, so if you are concerned, having done your research, that your child has been hiding habitual drug use, it can be a good idea to start talking to the experts at a local drug treatment center.
Thinking that your child may start taking drugs can be scary, but arming yourself with plenty of information will help you tackle the challenges of talking to your child about drugs or helping them if a problem occurs.