Some of the biggest concerns for parents of pre-teens and teenagers involve drugs, alcohol, and nicotine. As children grow older and enter high school, many parents want to prepare their children for unwanted peer pressure and scenarios where they may encounter dangerous substances. It is essential to educate teenagers on these dangers early, so they may have a greater understanding of the consequences associated with substances and know how to respond if they are offered them in the future. Today, American Addition Center reviews the best ways to discuss the dangers of drugs, alcohol, and nicotine with teens.
Unfortunately, one of the leading causes of teen substance abuse is ignorance. Teens and pre-teens often are uninformed on the various kinds of drugs and their effects and dangers. Teens unaware of a drug’s risks are more likely to accept them from friends and peers who may assure them a drug is safe to take. When discussing substances with teenagers, parents should give a detailed account of each drug and its dangers and encourage them to ask any questions they may have. If your teen has already taken drugs, it is important to discuss why they took them and how frequently they have taken them since. Next, parents should take steps to meet with an addiction professional and utilize various drug addiction resources, both online and in your community.
Many teenagers begin experimenting with alcohol in their early teens as a form of rebellion and independence. While it is common for parents to be reluctant to discuss alcohol consumption with their teen, it is essential to have a discussion before they are offered alcohol. When discussing underage drinking, remember to ask your child questions throughout the conversation, such as what they think about underage drinking, what they know about alcohol, and what they think can happen if they drink. In addition to discussing the legality of underage drinking, and the dangers of alcohol poisoning, it is important to plan with your teen ways for them to say no to peer pressure.
Within the past few years, e-cigarette and vape pen popularity have caused an increase in teen nicotine use throughout the United States. While there have been conflicting reports on the dangers of e-cigarette and vape pen use, science shows e-cigarette and vape pens contain addictive materials harmful to different parts of the body. Developing brains are often more susceptible to addiction, increasing the likelihood of lifelong addiction. Parents should look for non-confrontational ways to present the topic when discussing nicotine with a pre-teen or teen. Examples include seeing an adult smoking a cigarette or vape in public. In this situation, parents should use this opportunity to discuss the dangers of addiction and lung cancer and ask their teens what they think about nicotine.