Adolescent substance abuse increases over the summer months due to more free time, more time spent with their peers, and less parental oversight. The vast majority of addicted adults started using drugs and alcohol during their adolescent years. It is important for you to be cognizant of the signs of drug addiction in your adolescent children.
- Sudden decrease in grades.
- Poor upkeep with physical appearance and hygiene.
- Losing interest in enjoyed activities.
- Changes in friendships.
- Missing curfews.
- Unexplained fatigue.
- Avoidance of eye contact
- Unusual secretiveness and defensiveness.
The easiest way to deal with adolescent drug addiction is take preventative measures before it becomes a reality. They key to preventing adolescent drug addiction is to not take the authoritarian approach to parenting, which is where there is little communication. Children of authoritarian parents are more likely to use drugs and alcohol during their adolescent years. An example of taking the authoritarian approach to prevent adolescent drug addiction is saying, “Do not do drugs or drink alcohol because I said so!” Though it is tempting to take the authoritarian approach when it comes to major issues such as drugs and alcohol, it is important that you do not take this approach because it is not effective.
The authoritative approach to parenting is proven to be the most effective in preventing adolescent drug addiction. The authoritative approach to preventing adolescent drug addiction is to have comprehensive discussions about drugs and alcohol with your children and allow them to ask any questions or give any input they have on the issue. Educating your child on your family history of drug and alcohol addiction is extremely effective in preventing adolescent drug addiction. An example of taking the authoritative approach to adolescent drug addiction is saying, “I do not want you to be using drugs or alcohol because I do not want you to become addicted and obliterate your future success. Uncle John was an addict and alcoholic and ended up dying as a result. Do you have any questions or concerns? If so, feel free to come to me anytime.” The authoritative parenting style is all about communication, and communication is significant between parents and children during adolescence.
How to Deal with Adolescent Drug Addiction
Despite your best efforts to prevent drug addiction, it does happen. It is important that you do not react solely on your knee-jerk reaction by yelling at your child, severely punishing your child, using physical force against your child, throwing your child out of the house, or automatically shipping your child of to rehab. Reacting in an angry way will only prevent your child from seeking help from you in the long run. You must calmly and rationally take the appropriate actions to dealing with it.
- Keep in mind that denial is the hallmark of addiction, so your child may not admit that he or she has a problem. Treatment will not be effective if he or she does not recognize he or she has a problem.
- Become educated on the disease of addiction.
- Become educated on the adolescent-tailored treatment options such as detox, inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, intensive outpatient treatment (IOP), Young Peoples’ Alcoholics’ Anonymous, individual counseling, group therapy, etc.
- Seek help for you such as Al-anon, Nar-anon, Family’s Anonymous, or other support groups.
- Be loving and supportive throughout the recovery process.
- Do not allow the stigma to hinder you and your child from receiving the help you and your child need.
Parenting is a difficult job, and it becomes even more difficult during adolescence. You can only guide your children; the choices your children will make is ultimately up to them. If your child is struggling with drug addiction, Waters Edge Recovery is a superb treatment facility. Though they only treat adults over the age of 18, they are a helpful resource for any questions you have regarding addiction and treatment. Call them today at 855-782-1009