Parenting My Teen

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Archive for the ‘Teen Substance Abuse’

Adolescent Substance Abuse – How to Get Help

By: Aurelia Category: Teen Substance Abuse

Substance abuse is a significant problem among teens. What often starts as a social recreation can become a debilitating addiction. How do you know what it’s time to get help? And how do you get help?

Here are some ideas.

Are You Really Addicted?

If you are really addicted to a substance, it will control you rather than the other way around. It’s hard to get a good look at yourself to evaluate whether or not you’re addicted, so try asking yourself these questions:

  • Could I go without this drug/substance for a day? Week?
  • Do I use this substance daily or more than once a day?
  • Do I feel weird or out of whack if I don’t take this drug or use this substance?
  • If you had to stop using the drug or substance, could you?

If you answered the above in the following pattern – no, yes, yes, no – then you probably have an addiction problem.

Tell Your Parents

Of course you don’t want to do this. But honestly, they probably know something is up anyway and, though they will initially be upset, they will ultimately welcome the opportunity to help you. Parents are usually greatly relieved to be sought after by their teens if they have a problem.

Resources

Your school counselor will probably have a lot of good resources for you, with lists of various programs and centers where you can get help. Other adults in your life – family friends, pastors, and so forth – are also excellent resources for teens with substance abuse problems.

Parents and friends may wonder how they can help as they see their teen exhibiting behavior they can’t explain. What can you do to get help? For one thing, brace yourself. You will likely encounter anger, emotional outbursts, finger-pointing and name-calling (“You’re such a hypocrite!”), screaming, and a generally unpleasant encounter. This is not always the case, but it is likely to be, so prepare yourself.

Don’t forget to remind your friend or teen of your love and commitment to help. Remain calm and do not engage in irrational arguments. Identify with the teen’s feelings, and let them know specific rules and consequences with this in mind. Make the consequences and rules very clear, and let your teen know you are there for him or her no matter what.

If necessary, concerned friends and parents can look into drug rehabilitation programs and facilities in their area. Enroll your teen in one of these if you feel it’s needed.

Click here for more information on this issue and other problems you may experience with your out of control teen.

The Importance of Dealing with Teenage Substance Abuse

By: Mary Lutz Category: Teen Substance Abuse

If you have a teen that you believe is participating in teenage substance abuse, then you need to take immediate action and deal with the issue. This is extremely important because teens who experiment and abuse various substances are not only a threat to themselves, but their actions may put many more people in harm’s way too. Although, the primary reason you, as a parent, should be confrontational about teenage substance abuse is to get your teen the help he or she needs to get off this destructive path.

So, exactly what should you do if you suspect your teen is displaying signs of teenage substance abuse? There are several things that you may need to do in order to help get the problem under control. The list below provides you with the most common options available for parents dealing with teenage substance abuse. However, there are other not-so-common techniques that can be used as well.

  • Know and Understand the Signs and Symptoms: First, if you suspect that your teen is abusing drug, alcohol, medications, etc. then you need to do your homework and research the signs and symptoms of teenage substance abuse. You need to know all the signs associated with this problem and thoroughly understand them before you are prepared to confront your teen.
  • Document Specific Instances: Once you know the signs associated with teenage substance abuse, it’s time to start building a case against your teen. While this sounds harsh, the truth is that people with substance abuse problems, especially teens, are experts at denial. So, you need to start monitoring your teen more closely (without his/her knowledge) and document specific instances when specific symptoms are displayed. If you find evidence of teenage substance abuse, take pictures of it and confiscate it. After all, you are the parent.
  • Confront Your Teen: Once you’ve documented specific instances of teenage substance abuse signs displayed by your teen and/or have evidence of proof, it’s time to confront your teen. When you confront your teen regarding this issue, it’s vital that you do so in a loving non-judgmental way. You don’t want your teen to immediately be put on the defensive. And, it’s a good idea to wait until your teen begins trying to deny that anything is going on before you present them with your documented and/or confiscated evidence.
  • Seek Professional Help: Finally, if you’ve confronted your teen about the issue and no changes are made by your teen, it’s time to get professional help. While you will not feel like a “good” parent for taking your teen to get professional help for teenage substance abuse, it is actually the best thing you can do for them. Otherwise, your teen may become an addict and continually fight to regain control over the addiction for the rest of his/her life, which is far worse than the bad feeling you have dealing with the problem now.

Above are the four main options you should exhaust when you first begin to deal with teenage substance abuse. Once you reach the professional help stage, you will be presented with many more options based on your teen’s current condition. If you feel your teen is experimenting and/or abusing various substances, deal with it immediately and don’t wait! Your teen may not have the time available to wait.

Teenage Substance Abuse: Signs and Symptoms

By: Mary Lutz Category: Teen Substance Abuse

Teenage substance abuse is a growing problem among adolescents today. The sad fact is that if it goes unnoticed by adults, then the teen using has a great chance to be an addict in the future. When one becomes addicted to a substance, whether it’s alcohol, drugs or medications, it can lead to a lifelong struggle. There isn’t any recovered addict who doesn’t have weekly battles regarding whether or not to try it one more time. This is not the kind of struggle you want your child to deal with for the rest of his/her life. Therefore, look for the common signs and symptoms of teenage substance abuse listed below to determine if you need to get your teen help:

  • Change of Behavior – Generally teens abusing various substances will go through a significant behavioral change. For instance, your teen may have been a pretty laid back person who was easy to get along with, but now he’s on edge most of the time and argumentative. While that may not be the exact behavioral change your teen is exhibiting as it is just one type of behavioral change. The important thing to notice is if your teen has gone through a significant behavioral change.

 

  • Immediate Change of Friends – Another indicator that teenage substance abuse is going on is if your teen has stopped hanging out with a group of friends she’s had since childhood, or a long period of time. An immediate change in friendships is a good sign that something is going on with your teen.

 

  • Change in Grades – It’s difficult for teens abusing substances to maintain good grades. Therefore, if you know your teen usually has good grades, but they have dropped all of a sudden, you should investigate what’s distracting your teen.

 

  • Unusual Behavior – When teenage substance abuse is at work, teens will begin acting suspiciously. For instance, they may start answering questions vaguely while trying to avoid you. They may begin “disappearing” for short amounts of time throughout the day and try to conceal what they’re plans are when they go out on the weekends.

 

  • Odd Clothing Choices – While dressing in all black may seem odd to “old” people like us, this isn’t necessarily the type of odd clothing choices being referred to here. Basically, you need to watch for your teen dressing out-of-season. For instance, if he begins to wear only long sleeve shirts during the middle of the spring and summer, then you should be concerned. When odd clothing choices like this start to occur, your teen may be trying to hide something.

Above is a list of the most tell-tale signs and symptoms of teenage substance abuse. However, there are more subtle symptoms that can occur. If you suspect your teen is experimenting with various substances, you shouldn’t wait to interfere as it could lead to a life-long battle for your child.

Click here for more information on this issue and other problems you may experience with your out of control teen.

How to Help Prevent Teen Substance Abuse

By: Mary Lutz Category: Teen Substance Abuse

Preventing teen substance abuse is something that more parents need to learn more about…before their children enter their teenage years. Unfortunately, the majority of parents think that their kids won’t ever be the ones who becomes an addict. However, this is never a guarantee, which is why parents need to take the time to learn about teen substance abuse and how to help prevent it.

The first step in preventing teen substance abuse is understanding the most common reasons why teens start experimenting with drugs, alcohol and other dangerous substances. These include:

  • Genetics/Family History – There have been many studies done that have shown addictions such as alcoholism are much like a disease and may be linked to genetics or a family history of abuse. Therefore, if substance abuse runs in your family, you need to watch your teens closely for common indicators.
  • Low Self-Esteem/Depression – Low self-esteem and depression are common among teens with substance abuse. Usually the teens feel like the substances they’re using give them a temporary break from their problems.
  • Lack of Parental Involvement – Some teens begin hanging out with the wrong crowd and experimenting with various substances because they are bored and there isn’t anyone (parents) at home who show an interest in them.
  • Peer Pressure – In many instances, peer pressure is involved when teens try a dangerous substance for the first time. Teens don’t want to appear scared or weak in front of their friends, so they give in against their better judgment.
  • Location and Availability – Often times, where a family lives plays an important role in teen substance abuse. For example, those in poverty stricken neighborhoods generally have higher substance abuse rates because the availability of the “product” is higher.

Above are the most common reasons teens begin to try various substances. So, what should you, as a parent, do to prevent this? Below are a few tips:

  1. Talk About Teen Substance Abuse – Many parents feel that by ignoring the issue, their kids will just know that experimenting with drugs and alcohol is bad. However, this isn’t the case. Sometimes kids take your lack of involvement to mean that you don’t care. So, when presented with the opportunity by friends they take it. Therefore, you need to begin talking to your kids about the dangers of experimenting with various substances well before they reach the teenage years.
  2. Share Your Experiences – If you experimented with dangerous substances as a kid, then be willing to talk to your child about it. Talk to your child about the seriousness of what you did and how things could have went bad fast. Your kids are interested in you and your past and will often listen when you start talking about your adolescence.
  3. Create Scenarios – One of the best things parents can do with younger (grade school) age children is to create various types of practice scenarios with them. You can pretend to be a friend who is trying to get your friend to try a new drug. This will help your child to develop a strategy for saying no to friends who try to do this in the future.
  4. Be Involved – Finally, the most important things parents can do who want to prevent teen substance abuse is to be actively involved in their children’s lives. Make a point to spend quality time with your kids and to attend their school functions and extracurricular activities when you can. When your child feels loved and accepted at home, hanging out with “friends” who experiment with various substances will lose its appeal.

Parenting Teenagers: The Dangers of Teenage Drinking

By: Mary Lutz Category: Parenting A Teen, Teen Substance Abuse, Uncategorized

In many ways, parenting teenagers has changed over the years, but there are still many ways in which it has not. For example, teens have always been known for testing authority and being somewhat rebellious and argumentative. They have also been known to experiment with alcohol, as well. For many years now, alcohol has been the number one drug used by teens. This is something that hasn’t changed for many generations and there are many dangers of teenage drinking.

More than likely, you can remember going to a party or social event in high school where there was alcohol present. In fact, you may have even experimented with it yourself during your teenage years. If so, you definitely aren’t the only parent in the world to have done this. However, this doesn’t mean that experimenting with alcohol is something you want your own teens to be doing.

Most parents who drank alcohol during their teen years now understand that this wasn’t the smartest thing for them to have done and that there are many dangers of teenage drinking.  However, as teens, you don’t see the big picture and hindsight is always 20/20. Therefore, as parents of teenagers, it’s your job to look out for them and try to prevent them from abusing alcohol during their teen years. While drinking alcohol at a young age has always increased the chance of becoming an alcoholic, there are now even more reasons to try and prevent your teen from experimenting with alcohol.

Dangers Of Teenage Drinking

First of all, alcohol has been proven to be a depressant which isn’t good for anyone, but especially teens who are going through hormonal changes as well as dealing with peer pressure and stress. Take a moment to consider the high numbers of teen suicides we are beginning to see across the nation every year. Did you know that in most of these cases, alcohol is found in the blood tests that follow?

Additionally, a new trend that is beginning to appear and is gradually becoming a major issue is the amount of bullying that is going on in schools around the nation. More than likely, you’re aware that there have been many teen suicides that have occurred as a result from bullying. As if bullying isn’t bad enough, when you add alcohol to the equation, it can easily get out of control. The fact is that every teen reacts differently to alcohol and there is always an increased risk of violence when alcohol is involved – this is true for both teens and adults.

There are many more dangers of teenage drinking such as an increased chance of teenage pregnancy, becoming the victim of a sexual crime, making unwise decisions and risking losing college scholarships, a greater chance of becoming an alcoholic and many more. This is why those parenting teenagers need to become serious about preventing their kids from abusing alcohol.

The most effective thing those parenting teenagers can do is to play an active role in your teen’s life. Keep the lines of communication open and discuss the consequences of drinking alcohol. Also, make it a point to know what is going on with your teen at school and with his or her friends. And, finally, you need to keep a close eye on your teen’s activities between the hours of 3 p.m. and 6 p.m. on weekdays, as these are the hours when teens drink alcohol the most.

As you can see there are many dangers of teenage drinking. Be sure to talk to your teens openly and honestly about alcohol and the affect it can have on them and others.

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