Teen Addiction: 5 Lessons for Parents to Learn

Teen Addiction: 5 Lessons for Parents to Learn

Last Updated on March 21, 2024 by Nasir Hanif

Do you fear that your teen suffers from a drug or alcohol problem?

Do not brush it off as if it could never happen to you. And if you discover it actually did, don’t feel alone. 

Research reveals that 86% of teens know somebody who uses one or more substances during the school day and 50% have tried a drug at least once. Rather than getting lost in the problem, focus on solutions. 

Read on to learn more about how to handle teen addiction.

1. Talk With Yout Teen

Open up lines of communication between you and your teen. Even if they already abuse substances, this will help build a foundation of trust.

Educate your kid(s) on the dangers of drug use. Ask them to explain from their perspective and then fill in the blanks to make it an interactive conversation rather than a lecture.

Emphasize how much you love them and why you want to keep them safe. Many kids use to escape negative feelings and may need this type of reassurance.

Ask if they know anybody who smokes, drinks, or uses drugs. Then ask if they ever tried it.

If your kids seem uncomfortable or hesitant, offer an anecdotal story. Reminding them that you too faced these temptations as a teenager will help them open up.

2. Stay Calm

If your child admits to involvement with teen drug abuse, it may trigger a wide range of emotions within you. Reel them in.

The minute you fly off the handle, you lose their trust. Plus, it will accomplish nothing.

Now you need to focus on solutions. If you cannot remain calm, excuse yourself and talk later.

3. Choose Treatment Over Punishment

As a parent, you can handle your teen as you see fit. But, remember that teen substance abuse and addiction fall into the category of mental health disease.

Would you punish your child for a positive flu test or a depression diagnosis? This may feel different because it carries a stigma and drives inappropriate behavior, but it is still an illness.

You might take away their paraphernalia and strictly monitor their whereabouts. But emphasize that you only do so to keep them safe and not to punish them or you may lose control completely.

4. Develop a Team

Many parents want to keep this a secret. But, it can do more harm than good trying to sweep it under the rug.

Develop a team of people who care about your teen to help keep them on the right track. Begin with the other parent and close family members. 

Reach out to the pediatrician, school counselor, and other professionals. You might also ask them if you can talk with their close friends about choosing healthier behaviors with them.

5. Find Treatment Solutions

Teen drug addiction does not stop because you say so. It requires a treatment plan.

Inpatient facilities may not work for you if you want to keep your child with the family. Learn about teen music therapy and other creative, cutting-edge options.

Take Teen Addiction Seriously

Teen addiction can lead to a long life of problems, or even end lives prematurely. If your teen suffers from addiction, take it seriously and act promptly.

Get your teen excited about their future so they discover reasons to quit. Learn about potential opportunities on our education page.

Read also: How Parents Can Prevent Teen Drug Use