It’s no secret that teenagers like to experiment with new things, from clothing and styles to sexuality, and, unfortunately, substances like drugs and alcohol. Substance abuse can begin as early as grade school, and it can have disastrous effects on school performance. The older adolescents get and the more they get involved in substance use, the worse their chances of success. Studies have shown that alcohol and substance abuse are frequently associated with lowered academic performance, antisocial peer groups, and behavioral problems.
Scope of Substance Abuse in Adolescents
The Florida Institute of Technology’s highlight on teenage substances and academics reported that 90 percent of teenagers have used alcohol in the past. That number declines to 50 percent having used marijuana. Cocaine use is at 17 percent, and hallucinogens use is around 13 percent. Alcohol comes out ahead as the most widely used most likely due to its availability and pervasiveness in society. Alcohol use has been reported as early as 12 years old, according to the Alcohol Cost Calculator.
A myriad of problems in academics and behavior have been reported as a result of alcohol and substance use. An estimated 40 percent of academic problems among college students involve alcohol, and alcohol remains a contributing factor (28 percent) in college dropout rates. Not only that, but heavy drinkers and binge drinkers are four to six times more likely to skip classes, and they are five times more likely to drop out of school.
How to Get Back on Track
Whether your child is in high school or college, does hard drugs, or drinks alcohol, there is hope. At such a young age, it’s hard to see the road as anything else than the pavement under our feet. On that same token, it can be difficult for a teenager to understand how the decisions he makes today can affect him years down the road.
If alcohol or substance abuse has taken a toll on your son’s academic performance, let’s get him back on track. Here are a few tips to help improve academic performance:
- Show up. This seems like a no-brainer but going to school is the best way to learn the material. It’s also a good way for teens to socialize and make positive peer relationships.
- Sit up front. You remember the back of the classroom, don’t you? Try to avoid the goofing off that can frequently happen in the last row of seats. Take a seat front and center to increase focus.
- Put a face to the name. Professors and teachers have a lot of students throughout the day. Make yourself known to the instructor. Having face-time with your teacher helps foster a good relationship and can improve accountability.
- Do extra credit. If ever it’s offered, go the extra mile to get those bonus points. They can be a great grade booster and show the professor that you are willing to work hard.
- Get study help if and when you need it. As soon as you realize your grades might be slipping, go to a tutoring center or ask your professor for some one-on-one help. The quicker you catch a problem, the easier it should be to solve.
Just like poor grades, the earlier you identify a substance abuse or alcohol problem, the better chances you have of success. Your son deserves the best and this is a critical time for the both of you. Let us help you. At Muir Wood, our facility is specially designed for adolescent boys who are experiencing substance abuse and/or alcohol problems. Our focus on academics helps to keep your son focus, engaged, and committed to success. Interested in learning more? Call us today.