4 Ways to Talk to Your Teens about Addiction


4 Ways to Talk to Your Teens about AddictionIt is never easy to discuss an addiction with anyone, but there are particular challenges when addressing this topic with teenagers. Discovering one of your children has a drug or alcohol addiction can be emotionally overwhelming. The most important thing to remember is that you are not a failure as a parent because your child has an addiction. You must push through this battle and begin to talk to your teen about his or her addiction.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

Before opening a discussion, it is vital to be informed. Luckily, there are a variety of resources at your fingertips that will allow you to learn what you need to know about your teen’s addiction.

The National Institute of Drug Abuse for Teens is perhaps the strongest online reference for drug abuse in young adults. This site provides facts about various drugs, ranging from ecstasy to prescription drugs like Lorcet and everything in between. NIDA also provides a series of blogs on different related topics, such as brain science, celebrities’ drug abuse, and real-life drug abuse stories.

Your family physician will have a number of resources available for you, and will serve as a person you can speak with directly as well.

Learn How to Talk to Your Teen

By applying these strategies, you will find your conversations with your teen to be more effective.

  1. Remember your teen is living in an addictive culture. More so than any generation before them, this new generation of young adults has grown up in a culture that values and celebrates addictive behavior. Whether it is standing in line for days to be one of the first to purchase the latest electronic gadget or beating a video game as soon as possible, individuals ages 18-25 view addictive behaviors as the norm.

There is an overly casual attitude toward drug and alcohol use, and this attitude is developed early in life. A of junior high and high school students found that over 1/3 of high school seniors illegally used alcohol in the 30 days preceding the survey. Further, 64% of this same population does not view regular use of marijuana as a harmful activity.

  1. Your teen may be running from new responsibilities. Because of the delay in responsibility many 18-25 year olds experience, these individuals often find it is a heavy burden to learn how to be an adult. This trend away from responsibility is significant enough that serious consideration is being given to adding another developmental stage to life, one that stands between adolescence and adulthood. The five trends of emerging adulthood include:
  • Identity exploration
  • Instability
  • Self-focus
  • Feeling in-between
  • Possibilities
  1. Young adults often have an invincibility complex. Many teenagers believe they are invincible. Nothing can slow him down. Nobody can stop her. Nothing can touch him, or so he thinks. When a powerful addiction begins to rule his life, he is brought down to reality, quickly and brutally. However, in the meantime, it is nearly impossible to convince him that he faces any risk. Even statistics like the fact that 3,000 young adults died from a drug overdose in 2010 will not move him, as he will continue to believe such a thing could not happen to him. Overdoses only happen to other people.
  1. Just be honest. It is vital to remember these cultural components that are a part of your teen’s reality. At the end of the day, honesty is the best “tactic” to apply. Once you have learned the symptoms of addiction to the substance you suspect, sit down with you teen and compare the symptoms to his or her actions.

If you have found the drugs in your home, show them. Unapologetically demonstrate your love and care for your teen, but don’t back away from what you know or suspect. Stay calm, but be brutally honest. Set boundaries around what you expected from your teen, and ask him or her to meet those expectations. Above all else, be certain to communicate you love your child and want him to be healthy.

Never Ignore Addiction

Teenage addiction should always be taken seriously. This disease can limit a young adult’s life choices in an irreversible way, and should never be ignored. Drug addiction can easily lead into suicidal tendencies, legal problems, and other limitations.

If you think a teenager you love is struggling with an addiction to Lorcet or other substance of abuse, don’t ignore it, and remember you are not alone in this fight. We can help you. We can answer your questions. The admission counselors at our toll-free, 24 hour helpline can help you learn more about getting your teen the best treatment available. They can help you find your way.