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How to Talk to Teenagers About Addiction

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Being a parent is extremely stressful for a number of reasons. One of the most stressful things that parents have to deal with is whether they're properly informing their kids about the dangers they may encounter in life.


When it comes to drugs, alcohol, and other addictions, you as a parent worry that your children won't be able to resist temptation when it's presented to them.


While you feel like there's little you can do, your influence can really sway your child's choices when you approach the subject the right way. A child is more likely to listen when their parents create a lifestyle and environment that doesn't foster addictive activities.


Alcohol Addiction


Alcohol is the most dangerous addictions for teenagers to pick up on. While you're able to keep an eye on your child while they're living in your home, you have less supervision over them when they go off to college. College is an environment that often fosters alcohol abuse in young adults, which is why it's important to have a conversation about alcohol abuse while they're young.


Talking to your kids about alcohol is crucial to preventing addiction, but the most important way to get an effective message across is how you present your message. Timing is an important part. While many parents think that their children won't try alcohol until they're in their teens, they often try alcohol when they're younger. Shockingly, girls statistically take their first drink around the age of 13, while boys take their first drink around the age of 11.


When you talk to your kids about drinking, you need to present the information calmly. Don't get angry for any reason, even if your child has admitted to trying alcohol. Be ready to answer hard questions. Explain the dangers of underage drinking, emphasize how it's illegal, and go over the health issues that arise when people become addicted.


Drug Addiction


Drug addiction is a terrible problem that can seriously impact a person's relationships and life. There are copious health risks associated with many illegal substances. Some that you should be aware of, and tell your children about, are that many can cause damage to your respiratory system and cardiovascular system. Problems in these systems can manifest as nausea, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, difficulty breathing, and death.


When children take drugs, their mental function and mood can turn violent and over-emotional. Changes in mental function can cause people to have difficulty learning and retaining information, especially if they take drugs from a young age. Mood changes can cause them to become distant and argumentative, causing problems in their relationships with the people around them.


As with discussing alcohol, you want to have an honest and open conversation with your kids. Your child will want to ask questions. They might admit to having experimented with some drugs. It's your job to remain patient and understanding. If you have experimented with drugs in the past, it's up to you to decide how much you tell them. The primary intent of this conversation should make them feel informed about drugs so as not to misuse them dangerously, and comfortable talking to you about them in the future if needed.


Ways to Avoid Becoming Addicted


Besides talking to your teenager about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, you want to take additional steps to help steer them away from those dangers. You'll give them the knowledge that they need to avoid addiction, but you also want to advise them about the dangers of peer pressure. When they learn to deal with peer pressure, they learn that their self-esteem doesn't have to be based on what others think of them. It also allows them to pursue their interests, such as sports and the arts, undistracted by destructive influences.


Encourage your kids to handle situations where substances are present so that they don't have the temptation. If you've found that your child has a substance abuse problem, get them help. There are many recovery centers that can help address the problem. Addiction is a complicated disease, and those suffering need a strong support system.