Teenagers become addicted to drugs and alcohol at an increasingly alarming rate. One source found that out of the 2.8 million new users of illicit substances, over half of them were under the age of 18.
It is critical for parents to take an active role in their children’s lives, so they can determine when a child has used drugs. Intervening early can make all the difference in the child’s life. Substance abuse in children does not have to impact your household, and there are several steps you can take to protect your kids from drug abuse.
Be Part of Your Child’s Life
As kids grow into teenagers, they may become more distant. This is normal behavior, but it does not mean you should allow your teen to shut you out entirely. You should still attend all sporting events or band recitals your child might have.
Afterward, tell your child how proud you are of him or her. It is a simple gesture, but it goes a long way in letting your teen know you are there every step of the way.
You should absolutely have boundaries for your child, especially when he or she begins to drive. You should clearly lay out what the rules are, making sure not to mince words. In the event your child breaks a rule, then you should punish them accordingly.
Make sure not to punish too harshly, as it could cause your child to rebel even more. Conversely, you should reward good behavior. As your child sees that you have clearly defined limits, he or she will be less inclined to push them.
Be a Positive Role Model
Children look up to their parents more than you realize. If they see you abusing drugs, then they are more likely to do it themselves. This even goes for alcohol. Having a beer every now and then is fine because your teen sees that you do not abuse the substance.
However, your teen will learn the wrong lesson if you frequently wake up with a hangover. Likewise, be cautious with the stories you tell of your youth. You want to make sure any of these types of stories come with a clear lesson or else your teen may think, “Well, my father abused drugs, and he turned out fine.”
If you discover your teen using drugs or hanging out with a bad crowd, then you want to react properly. It is natural to feel angry and frustrated. However, you do not want to lash out in anger.
Instead, the best course of action you can take is to counsel your child. It may be time to set stricter boundaries and to limit who your child can remain in contact with.
Don’t Give Up
Raising a child is one of the most difficult, but rewarding experiences you can go through. Throughout this trying time, make sure to spend time to take care of yourself both emotionally and spiritually. Remember, God never gives you more than anything you can handle. Raising a child in today’s world is arduous, but you have the power to set your teen on the right path.
For any parents dealing with substance abuse in children in Minnesota, it is possible to get outside help. Lakeside Academy is here to help both parents and teenagers receive the resources they need to build a healthier family dynamic. Lakeside Academy has been a reliable institution for those seeking to live healthier, holier lives, and we are here to help you next. Contact us to learn more about our services and how we can best help your family become whole once again.
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