10 Tips & Strategies for Preventing Teenage Substance Abuse

Many teenagers experiment with alcohol or other drugs. While it may be common, teen drug abuse poses serious health risks, including drug addiction (also called substance use disorder).

As a parent, you can take several steps to protect your child from substance abuse. Here are ten.

10 Tips & Strategies for Preventing Teenage Substance Abuse

1. Set Clear Rules and Boundaries

You might assume that your child knows you want them to avoid drugs. In most cases, though, children and adolescents need clear rules. Describe your expectations, which may include:

  • avoiding drug use of any kind
  • not spending time with people who use drugs
  • immediately leaving parties or other events where people are using drugs
  • never getting in a vehicle with a driver who’s drunk or high 

Explain the consequences for not following these rules, and enforce those consequences whenever necessary.

2. Explain The Dangers Of Substance Abuse

Some parents feel uncomfortable discussing drugs with their kids. However, it’s your responsibility to educate your teen on the negative consequences of substance abuse, which may include:

  • relationship problems
  • poor school performance
  • poor decision-making skills, which can lead to risky behaviors like drunk driving and unprotected sex
  • impaired brain development
  • health problems like heart disease, depression, and sleep disorders

Explain that you set rules regarding drugs because you want to protect your child from these issues.

3. Be A Good Role Model

Although it might not always seem like it, teens pay attention to their parents’ behavior. If you abuse alcohol or other drugs, your child will likely follow your lead. 

Make an effort to model healthy behavior instead. For instance, if you drink alcohol, drink only in moderation. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism defines moderate drinking as having up to one drink a day for women and up to two drinks a day for men. 

You should also avoid illicit drugs and use prescription drugs only as prescribed.

4. Keep Track Of Your Teen

When your teen leaves the house, ask where they’re going and what they’ll be doing. If a situation sounds risky (such as an unsupervised party), suggest a different activity. 

Also, get to know your child’s friends. If they abuse drugs, they might pressure your child to do the same. Encourage your teen to only associate people who share your family’s views on substance abuse.

5. Strengthen Your Relationship With Your Teen

Many teens turn to drugs when they feel alone or neglected. You can help your child stay drug-free by spending more time together. Make time for regular conversations without phones, TV, or other distractions. 

Listen to your child’s thoughts and feelings, and provide support when necessary. The closer your teen feels to you, the more likely they are to approach you when they’re struggling (instead of turning to drugs).

6. Help Your Teen Stay Busy

Many teens struggle with boredom. Unfortunately, boredom is one of the main risk factors for substance abuse. That’s why you should encourage your child to stay busy with after-school activities and hobbies.

Amy Matton
Amy Mattonhttps://www.arkbh.com/%20
Amy Matton is a content writer for Ark Behavioral Health. She strives to reduce the stigma surrounding addiction and other mental health conditions. For more info, please visit: www.arkbh.com

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