Teens have a desire to assert independence, try new things and fall prey to peer pressure. Protective factors are one way to support teens by promoting positive things such as being with family, good mental health and prevention of drug or alcohol use. A child’s chances of taking drugs or engaging in risky behaviors lowers if certain conditions are met at home including the following list of 10 effective ways to reduce teen drug and alcohol abuse.
- Model positive behavior at home. When a teen has positive role models in the family it is easier to say ‘no’ to negative influences. Create a safe environment for teens to turn to in times of challenge and demonstrating the benefit of staying away from drugs
- Resolve personal issues. Family counseling for issues of substance abuse, violence, divorce or other things which impact a teen can be important to getting healthy. Getting help can create mental fortitude against negative outside influences.
- Know what’s happening. Parents and caregivers should be involved in a child’s life by knowing friends, what is happening with whom and where it is happening. A teen’s independence should be supported but boundaries and limits are important to keeping teens accountable.
- Teach the science behind drugs and alcohol. Do research on the brain science of what substances can do to the mind and body. This information can help teens understand what happens when drugs or alcohol impact the body. Online resources exist with information specific to teens available and easy to understand.
- Know the law. Every state’s laws are different regarding underage drinking and drug use. Discuss with a teen the legal consequences of being caught.
- Create a contract. Setting a contract for the family creates expectations and rules about consumption of drugs or alcohol for everyone. Offer to be available to drive a teen home if he or she ends up at a party to ensure safety.
- Know the signs. Know what to look for if a teen may be using alcohol or drugs. Risk factors such as depression, family history of addiction or social transition can elevate risk. Have a plan in place for family.
- Find alternative activities. Explore community and school activities which might interest the teen and encourage participation. Active teens who engage in sports, social or church groups are less likely to be bored or seek drugs and alcohol for fun.
- Look outside family for help. Teens need positive mentorship to reinforce positive family values and beliefs. Sports, school activities or religious mentors are good examples. Check in with the mentor to see what the teen is up to and find out more about the activities.
- Engage one-on-one. Spend regular, quality time with a teen by providing loving, undivided attention. Walking, bowling, tennis, bike rides or cooking together are great ways to encourage family bonding time.
Hired Power provides families with resources to help teens struggling with addiction. Call today 800-910-9299 for more information on how we can help you help your teen.