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Teenage drug addiction is a parent’s worst nightmare, but it is fact of life in ever-increasing numbers. Because of this, it is important that you are able to talk to your teen about drugs. This can be a difficult conversation to have, but according to the Office of Adolescent Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, there are a number of guidelines that can make the process much easier and more effective.
Start When you Know they’re Sober
Drugs cloud the mind and prevent rational thinking and the function of short-term memory. They also cause mood swings, irrational anger, and indifference. None of those things is conducive to having a productive conversation.
Find Common Ground
Drawing on your own experiences or those of other family members or close friends is a good way to find common ground. Also, it is helpful to remember when you were a teenager, and what it was like for you. In this manner, you will better be able to understand their point of view.
It is not easy being a teenager. Being a teenager with a drug problem is even more difficult. By showing that you recognize and are respectful of their feelings, your teen is more likely to open up to you.
Be There if They Want to Talk
Always have time for your teenager. It is important that you are willing to listen when they are willing to talk. Trying to postpone it until a more convenient time will only make them feel like you don’t really care.
Give them Honest Facts
It is inadvisable to overdramatize the effects of drugs or how they work. It is also not a good idea to downplay or “sugarcoat” the facts, either. Straightforwardness will let your teen know that you are serious and well-informed, making them more likely to listen to you.
Keep Tabs on Social Media and Television
Social media and television play a large role in the identity formation of today’s youth. Keeping tabs on these things will allow you to relate to them on their level, making it easier for them to talk to you.
Talk About it and Keep Talking About it
Drug use is an important topic, and may have far reaching consequences. You cannot talk about it with them often enough. The more you talk about it, the more they will take you seriously.
Do Not get Angry or Judgmental
By remaining calm and open-minded, you will put your teen at ease. In turn, they will feel more comfortable talking to you about drugs and drug use. They will also realize that you understand their side of things and genuinely care about them.
Ask About their Treatment Needs and Wants
If your teen requires treatment to help them overcome a drug addiction, getting their input on the type of treatment they receive will make them feel more at ease about doing it. It will also increase their odds of succeeding.
Find the Right Treatment Center for Them
There are a very large number of treatment options available, with different techniques, amenities, and specialties. Finding the right one for your teen can be a daunting task.