The average American teenager spends seven to eight hours a day involved with some form of entertainment media. Parents are plagued by the knowledge that that media is laced with references to drugs, alcohol, sex and violence. They fear their children will be sucked into the vortex and lose the battle of sobriety. That battle is something that no teen should have to fight alone. There are several tips that parents can follow to keep their children strong and off drugs:
Establish a Trusting Bond
Studies show that teens who have a close, trusting relationship with their parents are 35 percent less likely to be pressured into drugs or alcohol. It is important that parents establish an open relationship with their children. For example, if a child is found to be drinking, the most effective approach never involves anger or yelling. This reaction turns kids away. It will not stop them, but simply give them a reason to sneak around behind their parents back. If a child feels they can be honest with their parents without feeling their wrath, they will be more likely to be open about struggles with peer pressure.
Practice Media Awareness
The media is constantly throwing negative images in the faces of American teenagers. Unfortunately, it is in the world in which they live and something they constantly have to fight against. If a parent believes that their child has never watched a sex scene, witnessed violence or viewed drug and alcohol use, they are usually wrong. Instead of ignoring those realities, parents should talk with their kids about what they see in the media. Rather than putting rules and regulations on what they watch, talk about why they watch it. Discuss media glorification as well as the reality it failed to present.
Encourage an Active Lifestyle
Many teenagers get involved with drugs and alcohol simply because they are bored and there is nothing else to do. Parents should work to be involved with their childs lifestyle. Encourage joining clubs, sports teams or groups. Plan family vacations or weekend activities. A child that is actively involved with several things will have a much more satisfactory life. If a teen can obtain a life that is both rewarding and full, there will simply be no room for alcohol or drugs.
Parents need to be educated on drugs and alcohol in order to help their children. They should know about various addictions, risks, side effects and consequences. Once a parent has learned that, they can pass it on to their kids in an honest way. A parent should never sugarcoat the truth. Offer the real information about what various addictions can do, because most teens do not know. Parents should also work to educate themselves on current teen trends in order to understand the world their child is growing up in.
A huge reason teens get into drugs and alcohol is because they are rebelling against so little freedom. They are often expected to make adult decisions but are not allowed adult freedoms. It is a fine line to walk, but parents need to offer their child freedom while also remaining a parent. Freedom does not mean that a child can do whatever they want. Rather, it means that a teen is allowed some of those adult practices that they are growing into. If a teenager is allowed that, they are less likely to rebel in order to get it.
If a parent has witnessed their child struggling with drugs or alcohol, it is recommended that they seek inpatient care. It offers several benefits such as around-the-clock supervision, personal and group therapy, strict scheduling. and intense focus on personal recovery.
If the right steps are taken, parents can make a difference in their childs decision to keep drugs and alcohol out of their life.