How to Keep Your Teen From Becoming a Drug User in Suffolk County, NY

Drug_Addiction.pngBeing a parent can be a lot of fun, but it can also be incredibly challenging. Dealing with boyfriends, learning to drive, scheduling time for sporting events, and a host of other activities can make raising kids rather stressful.

However, there are very few things that can make parenting more stressful than discovering that your teen is addicted to drugs.

Unfortunately, drugs are becoming commonplace in Suffolk County, New York; however, this doesn’t need to be a permanent trend. Together, we can turn the tide, and it starts with how we treat our children.

This article discusses how to prevent your teen from becoming a drug user. Next week, we will discuss how to help those who already have an addiction.

3 Steps to Take to Prevent Your Teen From Using Drugs

Drugs are everywhere. Everyone, at multiple points in their lives, will be introduced to drugs by someone. The question is, how will they respond when this situation arises?

Although it’s impossible to keep your kids away from drugs – as the decision is ultimately up to them – there are things you can do to minimize their chances of becoming substance abusers.

1. Talk to Your Kids About Drugs – But Not in the Way You Might Think

Theodore Cuputi made an excellent point in his article on Keeping your kids away from drugs is all about persuasion (And the right kind of persuasion.)

Most of the time, anti-drug programs focus on the health factors of doing drugs. Although this appeals to adults, to a teen who feels invincible, health isn’t really a concern. In short, you’re sharing the right message, but with the wrong audience.

Instead, focus your conversation around your teen’s life goals and personal reasons for not doing drugs. Does your child want to become an athlete, get a great job, save money to travel, etc.? These are all motivators that can show a teen how and why drugs are not the right choice.

Ask questions of your teen (and pre-teen) to help them decide why they don’t want to use drugs. After all, once your child has personally concluded that drugs will ruin his life, his desire to use them will diminish rapidly.

2. Have Your Teen Volunteer in Low-Income Areas, Food Banks, Etc.

There are two benefits to having your kids volunteer in areas where they will come in contact with people who have had negative experiences with drugs.

First, it is a bit of a scare tactic (although this should never be the focus). Seeing how drugs have ruined or diminished other people’s lives is one of the easiest and fastest ways to decrease a teen’s desire for drugs.

Second, and likely more important, encouraging your teen to find purpose and value in serving others is essential to a well-balanced life – including drug prevention. Drug addiction often comes from stress, boredom, or a lack of purpose. Give your child external motivators (the ability to help others) and drugs will be much less appealing.

I have three boys and, as a pastor, I have often been called to hospitals and jails to talk with people addicted to drugs and alcohol. Every chance I had, I took one of my boys with me on the visit at some point in their life. I would pull them out of school for this purpose, if necessary.

People are often shocked at this, but on the way home from these adventures it opened the way for some very powerful conversation about choices, consequences, and the futures of the people we had visited.

3. Encourage Your Teen to Associate with Positive Peers and Know Their Friends

Your teen will turn out like the people they spend the most time around. Proverbs 13:20, “Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.” Therefore, it’s important to help your child interact with positive and purpose-driven individuals.

An excellent way to make these connections is through joining a local church where you and your teen can network with others striving to improve their lives.

Additionally, get to know the people your teen is hanging out with. Have parties and movie nights at your house, get to know the parents of your child’s friends, and find fun ways to do activities together.

The better you know your teen and their friends, the better prepared you will be to guide and mold their development.

Additional Help: Overcoming Drug Addiction Article

Suffolk County Area Resources For Drug Addiction Help

Keyword:preventing drug abuse