Having a child who is addicted can insight a lot of negative emotions. You’re worried, scared, and may even blame yourself. You want to know why this is happening, how it started, and most importantly, how to stop it.
As you may know, addiction is not something you can control in someone else. Your teen needs to be open to you and your concerns, and you need to be open to the idea of hearing them out. There needs to be a lot of communication at play when dealing with a teenager with an addiction.
Why Do Teens Use Drugs And Alcohol?
Of course, you were a teenager once and probably experimented in some way with drugs and alcohol. Even if you didn’t, you know it is common. That doesn’t mean it isn’t dangerous, though. You have every right to worry, and your feelings are valid. However, understanding why your teen is using drugs or alcohol can help. It isn’t an excuse for their behavior, but it can help you be more understanding.
A teenager can get addicted after trying drugs or alcohol to fit in. Social hierarchy in high school and even middle school is important to teenagers. To avoid being bullied or ostracized, teens will do things they may not be comfortable with to impress their peers. At the same time, teens may be awkward or nervous. This is a time in their lives when they discover who they are and who they want to be.
If they are worried about seeming boring or awkward, they may try using drugs or alcohol to make themselves feel more comfortable in a particular social setting.
Just like adults, teenagers deal with a lot of stress. Whether they’ve recently moved, gone through a divorce, or have had any major emotional trauma, teenagers may feel their only way to cope is by using substances. Change is a lot for anyone to undergo, especially teenagers. To soothe themselves and escape pain, anxiety, or depression, teenagers may seek out the use of dangerous substances.
All of these causes for using drugs or alcohol can lead to addiction. Teenagers don’t yet have a complete understanding of the consequences of their actions. This means they may believe they are only trying something without fully comprehending the possibility of addiction. Try to keep these things in mind when deciding what to do when your teen is addicted.
5 Things to Do When Your Teen Is Addicted
There are a lot of ways to react when you realize your child is addicted. You may scream, yell, punish them, or blame yourself. All of these are natural and immediate reactions. It is acting on those reactions that can cause more harm than good. If you want to help your teen with their addiction, there are steps you can take to ease their struggle, improve your relationship, and hopefully get them interested in recovery.
#1. Remain calm: If your teen is addicted, you need to remain calm enough for you both. Yelling, screaming, blaming, or even accusing them will likely push them further away. These sorts of interactions can drive them to use and pull away from you. If you are willing to listen to them and honestly share your concerns, you should have a much better chance of getting through to your teen. Try to talk with your teen when they are sober and in a safe environment free from distractions. Be respectful of what they have to say; you want them to confide in you.
#2. Encourage healthy behaviors: You might think punishing your child for using is the best way to change their behavior, but that will likely push them deeper into it. Instead of ragging on them for bad behavior, encourage healthy and positive behavior. When they do well in school, exercise, or participate in a healthy activity, support them. Have them stay involved with activities they enjoy. Do not push your child aside because you are disappointed. Have them help cook dinner and spend time with you. Encourage them to work on an art project or help with home improvement. Feelings of productivity will improve their self-esteem and help them believe in themselves without using drugs or alcohol.
#3. Set boundaries: Work with your teen to discuss what you expect from them and remain consistent. If you set rules and then don’t enforce them, you aren’t setting a good example or helping your child. On top of that, set boundaries for yourself. It is easy to let your child manipulate you. You love them, and when they ask for your help, you may give in. It is hard to say no to your child when they are in need, but there is a fine line between helping and enabling. You may be willing to care for them after a rough night and let them stay in your home to recover, but are you willing to lie for them or cover for them? Will you accept the way they treat you?
#4. Take care of yourself: You need to focus on yourself. It is easy to let your teen’s addiction control your life, but make sure you prioritize your needs. The stress of a child who is addicted can lead to depression, anxiety, and even your own substance abuse issues.
#5. Reach out for help: When your child is addicted, it is hard to admit to others, but you can rarely change things on your own. Reach out to your family doctor, a specialist, or a therapist for help.
Having An Addicted Teen Is Stressful
Dealing with a teen who is addicted is probably like nothing you’ve experienced before. Even if you are familiar with addiction, having a child going through it is stressful. Handling this with delicate care and the proper help is essential. You want to understand your teen, respect them, and hear them out. You want to know they are safe and healthy while also encouraging your relationship positively.
SoberLivingNearYou.com isn’t just the largest collection of sober home listings on the web, it’s also a resource about addiction information. We can help you find a sober home solution for your adult teen … or provide information about younger teens involved in drug and alcohol abuse. Contact us to learn more.