Talking to your teen about alcohol can be complicated and awkward. You don’t want to offend them, but you want them to know you care. With a few quick tips, speaking with your teen about drugs and alcohol can go more smoothly.
You should learn as much as you can about what to look for when you suspect drug/alcohol use.
Here are some signs and symptoms of teen drinking/drug use:
· Changes in friends
· Negative changes in schoolwork, missing school, or declining grades
· Increased secrecy about possessions or activities
· Use of incense, room deodorant, or perfume to hide smoke or chemical odors
· Subtle changes in conversations with friends, i.e. more secretive, using “coded” language
· Change in clothing choices: new fascination with clothes that highlight drug use
· Increase in borrowing money
· Evidence of drug paraphernalia such as pipes, rolling papers, etc.
· Evidence of use of inhalant products (such as hairspray, nail polish, correction fluid, common household products); Rags and paper bags are sometimes used as accessories
· Bottles of eye drops, which may be used to mask bloodshot eyes or dilated pupils
· New use of mouthwash or breath mints to mask alcohol on breath
· Missing prescription drugs
Whether or not you notice any of the above signs, it is still important to talk to your teen about substance abuse. It is important for your kids to be educated about alcohol and drugs by you; they need to know that teen drug and alcohol use is not condoned by your family. Most of all, they need to be held accountable for their actions.
Here are some simple steps to follow in order for a conversation to go more smoothly with your teen:
· Make a plan. Prepare yourself beforehand by knowing exactly what you want to say to your teen.
· Present the facts. Presenting cold, hard facts can be the biggest eye-opener for teens when it comes to substance abuse.
· Listen. Let your teen say what he/she needs to say. Be sure to listen carefully to their take on the issue.
· Discuss. Talk about the shared information, consequences, and risks of substance abuse.
· Set rules. Firmly and warmly make it very clear that you will not tolerate drug or alcohol use by your teen. Identify the consequences if they do use
Follow these steps and you’ll be well on your way to creating a safe, drug-free environment for your child. Also, keep your eyes peeled for a prevention program for parents that will soon be offered in Van Buren County.
For more information on any of the topics discussed in this article visit www.theantidrug.com or for more information you may contact the SAFE Coalition at 319-293-6412 or online at www.vbsafecoalition.com