Everywhere that adolescents look on television, on billboards, in magazines, on the Internet, and the radio, they see messages about alcohol, sex, and drugs. They are constantly being exposed to these messages and are impacted by what they see, read, and hear. The things adolescents see in their every day lives may negatively affect their behavior. More than one-third of American teenagers are turning to alcohol or drugs. 32 percent of teenagers say that they drink. 19 percent say that they use drugs, and 15 percent say that they do both alcohol and drugs. That can leave a parent feeling hopeless and unable to control what their teenagers are doing. So what can parents do to help? Read more to learn about a parent’s role in adolescent addiction and how you can help your children overcome addiction.
Become A Careful Observer Of Red Flags
The first step to any recovery is to become a careful observer of adolescents’ behavior. Pay particular attention to the small details that make up their lives. Keep an eye out for changes in friends, sleep patterns, grades, moods, judgment, and personality. While you are noticing these changes, be careful not to jump to conclusions. Adolescents’ addiction chemically alters their brains, so they are not always ready to hear what parents have to say.
Parents need to create a nurturing home environment so teens will still receive the love and support they need. Teens need to feel that their parents are trustworthy. This is the time to listen to them and make a sincere effort to hear what they are going through. By having open discussions about the issues, you can better understand how it got to this point and help them in their road to recovery.
Rule #1 For Parent’s Role in Adolescent Addiction: Have Rules
After establishing this trust between the parent and child, parents and teens can work together to take the steps to recovery. First, parents must set limits so teens know what is expected of them. Making specific rules will eliminate excuses such as “I didn’t know.” This will also eliminate the confusion of the “unspoken rule,” that the child or teen did not know they were not supposed to do drugs.
Together with you teen, set rules that are clear and specific. Also, outline the direct consequences that they will face if they break the rules. These consequences need to be firm, inflexible, and consistently carried out when a rule is broken. This helps adolescents know what to do and what not to do.
Seek Professional Help
Even though parents may think of professional help as a last resort, the earlier parents seek inpatient or outpatient treatment for their child’s drug or alcohol addiction, the better. Adolescent minds and bodies are still developing, so teen drug use can progress into addiction faster than in an adult. Because of this developmental period, teens do not always make the best decisions on their own. A qualified family or adolescent dependency counselor can evaluate and assess a teen’s substance abuse problem, and recommend the appropriate treatment.
How The Right Step’s Treatment Program Can Help
The Right Step’s Adolescent Program works with teens and parents in either intensive outpatient or residential treatment settings, depending on what the therapist recommends. Therapy will focus on various areas of the teen’s life, in addition to relationships with parents. Having a close relationship with your teen opens the door for more interaction, allowing them to feel comfortable and honest with you. If you are a parent or know one who is unsure about how to help their teen, please call The Right Step at 713.528.3709 today.