talk to kids about addiction part 2

Talking to Your Kids About Substance Abuse, Part 2

In Part 1 of this series, we talked about how to talk to kids about drugs and alcohol and some of the dangers inherent in drug and alcohol abuse.

How To Prevent Your Child From Using Drugs and Alcohol

It is most likely for someone to start trying drugs during their teenage years which can lead to drug or alcohol addiction and other health problems as adults. There are a wide array of things a parent can do to help prevent your teen from participating in substance abuse, here are a few examples: 

  • Establish an open line of communication. Whether or not your teen has questions, they may not want to approach you because they fear your reaction or that they’ll be in trouble for asking. Having an open line of communication that works as a judgment-free zone can help teens feel comfortable discussing substance abuse and possibly help prevent it.
  • Try to speak their language. A short follow-up text to your teen can do a lot. You don’t have to use shorthand texting language. And if you’re really uncomfortable texting have your kid teach you to use the speak-to-text option on your phone. Sending a text to your teen can remind them of your conversation and that you are on their side.
  • Become more involved in their day-to-day. Spending quality time together has been shown to reduce the likelihood that a teen will misuse drugs and alcohol. Spending time with your child, and giving them your full attention can do wonders. Turn off the electronics and really listen to what they have to say.
  • Establish clear rules and enforce them in a fair manner. Teens need rules. Rules and regulations give them structure and helps make them feel safe and loved.
  • Be the example. Teens look up to their parents, whether they acknowledge it or not. Parents play a very influential role in how teens see and react to the subject of substance abuse. Show them how to handle stressful situations, so they know what to do when they are faced with the same issues.
  • Teach your kid how to refuse drugs and alcohol. Teens usually start abusing drugs or alcohol because they want to fit in. Run through a few role-play scenarios with your kid and teach them ways of saying “no” when someone offers them drugs or alcohol. Teach them that people who pressure them to do things that make them feel uncomfortable or are not good for them may not be good company to keep.

Treatment for Kids Struggling with Substance Abuse

If you suspect that your kid is experimenting with drugs or alcohol, or that their drug use is starting to escalate, it may be time to seek help. Talk to a counselor at your child’s school, or reach out to a substance abuse counselor. 

In some cases, kids may have been abusing substances longer than you think, which may mean that they are already in need of formal substance abuse treatment. Both inpatient and outpatient treatment programs are commonly available.

Article Sources:

The Mayo Clinic—Tween and teen health

National Institute on Drug Abuse—Help Children and Teens Stay Drug-Free

The Bluffs Rehab –

Photo by Dmitry Ermakov on Unsplash

Brooke Powell

View posts by Brooke Powell
Brooke Powell is an independent writer who frequently writes on substance use disorder. She has a passion for breaking the stigma around addiction and mental health issues with informative and reliably sourced content. When she isn’t creating content, she loves to get lost in a good book or puzzle.

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