How to Talk to Teens about Illegal Drugs: 3 Things You Need to Say
I talk with parents all the time about their children’s well-being. We work on how to make little Johnny more responsible, to stop lying, show more respect, and stop constantly using his phone. Yes, all of these things are important. But the singularly most vital conversation is talking to your teens about illegal drugs.
Teens enjoy doing something forbidden, and their hormonal surges and cognitive immaturity may cause them to be attracted to sensations produced by drugs. But their immature bodies and brains make drug use particularly dangerous.
Most adolescents try psychoactive drugs. Of course, incidence and prevalence rates vary in drug use, but most studies report that incidence of drug use occurs from about age 10 to 25 and then decreases, with use before age 18 being the best predictor of later abuse.
It is hard to overestimate the importance of peer-approval for adolescents, although adults are not always aware of it. At the same time, boys and girls are testing their independence and would like nothing more than for their parents to just go away. They are at an age where fitting in is crucial. The judgment of peers is important, and having friends is vital. One high school boy, (in a recent study), said: “A lot of times I wake up in the morning and I don’t want to go to school, and then I’m like, you know, I have got this class and these friends in it, and I am going to have fun. That is a big part of my day—my friends.”
Below are three things you must say to your pre-teens and teens about how to deal with resisting peer-pressure to use drugs and alcohol.
As parents, you can remember how difficult it was to be a teenager. With the increased availability of illegal drugs in the US, the issue is of great importance.
Finally, when all else fails, tell your teens to blame you. Have them share that their parents are strict and they will get drug tested when they get home. As always, let your teens know you are here to talk. Don’t ever shut the door on them or “punish” them for being honest with you. They will talk to you if they feel they can trust you.
Yes, conversations like these are hard to have but they are so important to your teen’s life.