Not sure how to help your child avoid the risks of drug and alcohol abuse in the teen years? Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Set a good example. You may not think that your son is watching or cares about your behavior, but the fact is that kids are paying very close attention to your actions – far more so than they pay attention to what you say. If you drink responsibly or not at all and avoid all drug use, then you are setting a positive example for your teen. If you regularly have parties where guests become intoxicated or you often drink to excess yourself or ever use any recreational drugs, then your teen gets the message that it’s not only okay but that it’s not really a big deal.
- Keep the lines of communication open. Make your anti-drug opinions clear. Seize every “teaching moment” that comes along—song lyrics that talk about drug use, a story you heard about someone you both know, a TV show that talks about drug and alcohol abuse—and don’t worry about repeating yourself too many times. Teens can’t hear it enough and even though they may roll their eyes or act like they aren’t listening, studies show that parental opinions matter to teens and heavily influence their actions.
- Don’t allow teen drinking or drug use of any kind in the house. Some parents believe that it’s okay for teens to have a glass of wine with dinner at home or agree to supervise teen drinking in their home because it lessens the risk that their teen will drink and drive. The fact is that this is illegal and parents who knowingly give their teens alcohol or allow them to drink are risking prosecution as well as sending the very dangerous message that underage drinking is not bad for your child’s mental, emotional and physical development.
- Set clear boundaries. If it’s against the rules in your house to drink or use drugs, make it a clear rule by saying so and outline what will happen if those rules are broken.
- Follow through on consequences for breaking rules. Should your teen break the rules and choose to drink or use drugs, make sure that the consequences you put into place become a reality. If it happens again, these consequences should be more severe. If your teen continues to use drugs and alcohol, it’s time to get them treatment and end the behavior immediately.
If you are looking for a treatment program that can help your son stop abusing drugs and alcohol, contact us at Muir Wood today and learn how we can help.