Life is a voyage of discovery, and some of the most turbulent waters we encounter are from our teen years. Not quite an adult but definitely not a child, an adolescent faces many challenges that don’t always have supports in place to assist them in the decision-making process.
For many years we have seen different types of campaigns to warn our children away from the perils of drug and alcohol abuse – some take the good advice as it is presented, others not. Keeping our kids safe is our number one priority, but we have to trust them to do the right thing and stay away from influences that would lead them astray. For kids who get caught up in the abuse treadmill – whether it is drugs or alcohol – there is a number of factors that can singularly or in combination take a teen into a life of drug or alcohol abuse.
Peer Pressure and Teen Drug Abuse
Peer pressure is one type of influence that can harm teens. When a teen is insecure and trying to figure how and where they fit in, peer pressure can be interminable when they need to say no. Many times, kids will say it is only grass or it is my dad’s prescription or at a party somebody says ‘let’s drink up’ and those benign statements can cause big problems for inexperienced users who are going along to get along.
Wanting to Grow Up Too Fast
Acting all grown up is another cause of use and abuse of alcohol and drugs. It gives teens false sense maturity when they are using substances, and their peers view them as ‘cool.’ Mimicking parental behavior is another area that is a danger to adolescents. They see their parents using and abusing recreational drugs or alcohol and think it can’t be that bad if my parents are doing it.
If life is a voyage of discovery then experimenting with drugs or alcohol as a teen is part of the journey. Many times, a teen will try something ‘just once’ to see how it feels and then a habit will develop over time if the experience is a pleasant one when they first start experimenting.
Some teens who are experiencing acute emotional trauma will self-medicate to dull whatever pain they may be experiencing when they start abusing drugs and alcohol. This hits our teens twice. First, they aren’t addressing the cause of the emotional trauma they are experiencing and second, using drugs or alcohol to treat the condition, doing physical and mental damage to their bodies and in some cases, the damage is irreversible.
Quite often, a teen may become addicted and not even know it. As teens, we all thought we were invincible and that drug or alcohol addiction couldn’t happen to us, but it does with great regularity. Often, we are the last to know we have a problem, and that problem can come out of the blue without warning leaving carnage in its wake.
For parents, it is important to keep the lines of communication open with your teenagers. Let them know in no uncertain terms that they can come to talk to you anytime without fear of reprisal. If your teenager hasn’t come to you, go to them, speak from the heart with love and concern about the evils of drug and alcohol abuse and educate them on the harm that could befall them. If a problem arises, be supportive and seek solutions that will lead to a full and complete recovery for your child and tell them that their problem is your problem too. Call Beachside today at 866-349-1770 to learn more.