What is a good approach when talking to my Teenager on drugs or alcohol?

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Answered by: Levi, An Expert in the Alcohol and Drugs Category
For generations, parents have been trying to figure out just what to say to their teenage child about the effects of drugs and alcohol. Though at times it may seem like nothing you say to your child is ever going to sink in, your influence on them matters more than you may think. Often, a teenager calls upon questionable behavior in a backwards attempt at simply setting you up to tell them you're concerned. They often seek out self harming situations and techniques simply because they want to hear someone tell them they care to much to watch the child harm themselves. As a young adult, I vividly remember my mindset and moral decisions made while I was well in my teen years.

There are many ways you can discuss your concerns with your teenager on drugs or alcohol. One of which may be easier than you would think, simply being that you sit down and discuss your fears and concerns with them. Approaching a teenager with compassion or an iron fist may not be as beneficial as you would think, sometimes the best remedy for a troubled teen is to simply sit down and open up to them. Showing how you really feel, and expressing it while talking to your teenager as an adult rather than your child, they will be much more likely to do the same for you. This would give you the chance to really find out what's been bothering them, by attempting to remind them that you're human just as they are, and give them a chance to see you as a person rather than a parent and take the opportunity to connect with them and discover what's going on in their mind.

Another important aspect to remember when talking to your troubled teen, is to remind them as often as possible that you act out of love. Show them that you enjoy them, and that you care for them. Simply banning them from questionable behavior and forgetting to show them that you act in their best interest may gradually leave them with a sense that you are on obstacle. Be sure to ensure them regularly that you enjoy them and care about them, and that you discipline and raise them with the intention of continuing that enjoyable relationship, while they grow to become successful, happy adults.

Lastly, a troubled teen will often think of their reckless lifestyle as an escape. A teenager will often enjoy such a lifestyle for more than the drugs and alcohol, but for the feeling of acceptance their wayward friends give them as well. It's often beneficial for everyone involved when the parent takes time to make sure their child feels accepted and at ease when at home and engaging in family appropriate activities. Be sure to respect and encourage their individuality, and take interest in who they want to become in life. Making sure your teenager feels welcome and appreciated in their home might surprise you more than you'd think.

Always remember that a troubled teen doesn't always want to be reasoned or negotiated with, sometimes they just want to find out who is willing to say "I care too much to let you do this." As long as you make sure your child has a life they don't wish to escape from, you'd be much better equipped than you'd think to help your teenager on drugs or alcohol.

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