How to Grow a Strong Child: Resolving Common Drug and Alcohol-Related Problems
As a parent, it is important to talk with your child and take an interest in the things they do. By having open lines of communication and showing your child that their interests and opinions matter you can help strengthen their ability to make good choices in difficult situations. This is especially true as they enter their teenage years and will face peer pressure and the urge to try alcohol and drugs. Parents play an important role in the self-esteem and self-image that teens have of themselves, and this confidence can help them make better choices. Listed below are some ways parents can help their teen face and resolve common drug and alcohol-related issues:
A teen with high self-confidence will have the ability to deal with peer pressure better than teens with low self-confidence. To help your teen with their self-confidence parents can do the following:
- Praise your teen and encourage them to be themselves.
- Point out when your teen does the right thing.
- Support your teen with making their own decisions and reassure them you will be there when they make mistakes.
- Encourage your teen to try new things to help them gain confidence and experience in new situations.
Teens that have supportive families have an easier time dealing with stressful situations because they know they have a supportive place to go even if they make a bad decision. Let your teen know that if they have an issue, they do not feel comfortable talking to you about then they can always talk to other members of the family including aunts, uncles, or older cousins.
It is important to meet and talk with your teen’s friends. The people your teen chooses to hang around says a lot about their self-esteem and self-confidence.
Be involved in your teen’s school and be sure to attend parent-teacher conferences to get feedback on how your child is doing, report cards only reflect grades, not other factors your teen may be facing. Your teen spends over 40 hours a week at school, so it is important to be involved and know what is going on in their school.
Be aware of what problems are in the community you live, especially when they involve drugs and alcohol. As your teen gains more independence, they will be out in the community without you so it is important to know what is going on so you can help your teen make good decisions.
If you suspect that your teen is having an issue or is experiencing a problem with alcohol or drugs, do not ignore it, address the issue. The earlier an issue is addressed and resolved the better off your teen will be. Start with communicating your values and expectations of your teen especially when it comes to alcohol and drugs. Reassure your teen that if they make a bad choice they can still come to you and get help, while all actions have consequences addressing them early and properly will lead to a better resolution than lying and hiding the problem will.