According to the Monitoring the Future survey (2017) teen drug use has been seen dropping. This might seem as a pretty hopeful piece of information for parents. Only it is not that simple. Are the prospects really so nice?
Well, no, in truth, they are not. The risk of addiction is still here and despite the National Institute on Drug Abuse report its rates do rise. Conflicting as it may seem, the truth is that parents should not fall for this false sense of security and they’d better take preventive steps in order to protect their kids before they become the figures in the statistics. Here are some tips to start with.
Keep in mind that the reports of the nature are unable to actually predict the possibility of addiction development. Many kind who try marijuana early are prone to sticking to the habit for ages; also, kids living in the states where marijuana is legalized are more likely to try it in adolescence than the kids who live in the states with more restrictive recreation drug legislation. These and many other facts will help you have more or less realistic picture of the situation.
Drug Statistics Is not Everything
If only drugs were the only problem in the modern society. Unfortunately, there are plenty of other stuff that can lead to addiction and smartphones seem to be the the first in the list, when it comes to teenagers. There is an entire world in a teenage smartphone and the idea of discreet mobile tracking sometimes does not seem all that indecent on the parents’ part.
Technology abuse is hardly a new tendency either – good old video games have just transformed into a more sophisticated versions nowadays. With new design and possibilities, gaming hasn’t become less addictive.
Besides, parents need to be careful and keep an eye for self-injuries as well – too many kids with this problem go unnoticed while drug abuse statistics reports run the show.
Do Your Best to Keep Them Safe
There are too many challenges on the way, this is true. However, the more effort parents make, the more rewarding it turns out. Low self-esteem, lots of spare time and little responsibility are the things that can lead to many bad choices. By trying to engage your kids in different activities, providing them with the challenges that will make them feel stronger and more confident, teaching them how to channel their negative emotions in the right way, teaching them how to not be bored – is the key for not falling for any addictive behaviour.
Restrictions Are not Always Bad
You should remember that you are the role model that your kids have in front of their eyes every day. Thus, the example you set is very much what they will follow outside the house. So, make it a good one. Besides, be pretty clear about the idea of a healthy lifestyle and what you will or will not tolerate in your family and in your home, and why. Talks may seem ineffective when it comes to many situations, however, in the majority of cases they do work.
Know Your Enemy
Addiction is easier to treat on its early stages. Thus, make sure you know the signs and be brave not to ignore them.
Here are some of the most eloquent ones that should never be left unattended:
- mood swings can be a sign of cocaine or opiate usage;
- changes in appetite, dilated pupils, troubled sleep and so on – the symptoms can seem insignificant at first;
- unsociable behaviours can be a sign of tech addiction;
- depression and anxiety symptoms should never be taken for granted.
There is plenty of information about addiction behavior symptoms, check them out to make sure you know it when you’ll see it.
Help Is not Something to Be Ashamed of
The last thing you should think about when your kids are in trouble is your neighbours’ opinion. What you should concentrate on is getting help as soon as possible – the faster, the better. It is essential to get professional assessment and not trying to make your kids quit cold-turkey. Find the information about the specialists and treatment facilities in your area. A teenager might be at risk of developing a mental health condition or having a problem dealing with more than one addiction. It is much wiser not to reduce your kids chances for recovery by practicing self-treatment.
One of the reassuring things about such reports athe the one mentioned earlier is that they bring some sort of impression of control; but the impression is mostly false. True, there is a tendency for teenage drug use to either stabilize or drop at times; however, the report is not really about addiction, not in the least. The thing is that it is pretty hard to provide any estimate on the subject. One thing that parents can and should do is actually prevent their kids appear in a statistics just like this.