In particular, encourage activities that promote overall wellness, such as physical activities or arts and crafts. Along with keeping your teen occupied, these endeavors can boost relaxation and self-esteem. A calm, confident teen is much less likely to abuse drugs than other teens.
7. Teach Your Teen How To Refuse Drugs
Young people often start using drugs due to peer pressure. They may feel uncomfortable with drug and alcohol use but don’t know how to say “no.”
That’s why you should teach your child to refuse drugs by giving reasons or making excuses. Effective excuses include:
- “I have a doctor’s appointment tomorrow, and they might take a urine sample.”
- “My parents can always tell when I come home drunk or high.”
- “I have to go somewhere else in a few minutes.”
Your child’s high school might offer substance abuse prevention programs where teens can further strengthen their drug refusal skills.
8. Keep Your Home Safe
While some teens get introduced to drugs while out with friends, others find drugs at home. Make your home a safe haven by hiding any alcohol. Also, take inventory of all prescription and over-the-counter medications so you’ll know when any substances go missing.
You should also hide or take inventory of inhalants. Inhalants are household items that some people (mainly children, teens, and young adults) inhale to get high. They include:
- deodorant spray
- spray paint
- vegetable oil spray
- aerosol computer cleaning products
- whipped cream cans
- paint thinners or removers
9. Help Your Teen Manage Stress
Like adults, teens often use drugs to deal with stress. That’s why it’s important to teach your child healthier ways to relax, such as:
- taking a bath
- listening to music
- reading a book
- playing with a pet
- spending time with loved ones
Your teen can also stave off stress by getting regular exercise, eating a well-balanced diet, and sleeping at least eight hours a night.
10. Help Your Teen Get Mental Health Treatment
Teens who live with mental illnesses like depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizophrenia face a much higher risk of substance abuse than teens who don’t. Thus, you should keep an eye on your child’s mental health.
If you notice any mood or behavioral changes, such as persistent sadness or sudden withdrawal from friends and family, talk to your child’s health care provider.
If the doctor suspects mental illness, they’ll likely refer you to a mental or behavioral health professional. This professional can help create a treatment plan for your child. Most treatment plans include therapy and, in some cases, medication.