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Top 5 Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Addiction in Teens

Parents have more control over whether their teen abuses substance or not. Did you know that research indicates that parents who drink alcohol or use drugs are more likely to have children who do the same? By simply being a positive role model, you demonstrate to your child that drugs and alcohol do not have to become a part of every day life. You also show that there are other ways to cope with feelings or to have fun and socialize, instead of abusing substances.

What else can you do to help prevent addiction in your household? Consider these five ideas.

  1. Communicate. Common sense will tell you that talking and being there for your kids is one of the best ways you can prevent substance abuse. Talking about drugs and alcohol isn’t a one time conversation, rather, it should be an ongoing discussion. You can explain the risks (physical, mental and emotional) of being involved with drug use. You can discuss peer pressure, how to deal with certain situations, and how to cope with stress. Most importantly let your teen know that you will always support them and help them to manage any situation that may seem difficult to navigate.
  2. Be firm. Parents should never fear being perceived negatively by their child for holding a firm line relative to drug and alcohol use.When it comes to the health and safety of your child, a fear of incurring their frustration over having to abide by your drug abstinence rules should not be seen as a reason not to provide discipline when necessary.
  3. Ask. Ask your child where they are going, who they will be with, what time they’ll be home and what they will be doing each and every time they leave your house. Studies shows that adolescents who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use alcohol or drugs than those children whose parents are more engaged. Do you know your children’s friends? You should. Get to know the people in you teen’s life. Make friends feel welcome in your home and encourage them to spend time at your house where you can be sure they are having fun in a secure environment.
  4. Call in the troops. Besides understanding whom your teen chooses to hang out with, it is beneficial to get to know their friends’ parents as well.  Keep the lines of conversation open among you. If you ever need to reach out to another parent to validate your child’s story about where they were or what they were doing at their friend’s house, you will need to have established a foundation of respect and trust with one another.
  5. Maintain a safe environment. For many adolescents the most accessible alcohol and prescription medications are those found in their own homes. If you do have these items in your home, store them in a secure location and monitor their quantities to ensure that they are not being consumed by your child.

Horizon Health Services is dedicated to providing support, resources and HOPE to families in Western New York. If you or someone you know is suffering from substance abuse or addiction, please reach out for help today.