Parenthood, adolescence and drug prevention
Drug prevention studies have shown that there is a trend of a small reduction in the use of psychoactive substances in some groups of adolescents. However, this remains an alarming problem, that is why drug prevention is so important. This includes the use of cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, inhalants, cocaine and other substances. The reasons may be various, but some studies make reference to the following:
• Use of drugs at home, including the use of cigarettes and alcohol.
• Lack or little adult supervision.
• Availability of drugs.
• Peer pressure.
• A divorce mismanaged.
• Changes in perception (not afraid of the risks).
• Influence by all the media.
• Evasion (to escape or get away from the pressures).
• Lack of opportunities to participate in alternative activities (clubs, sports, etc.)
Teens who use drugs regularly do so for the same reasons as adults. Addictions or drug misuse does not occur by accident or experimentation. Drug problems are usually part of larger and more complex problems. Some are: not feeling well at school, problems at home, lack of identity and self-moral, and feelings of not being part of the group.
During the adolescence that is when they prefer to use the time to try new things and challenge their boundaries. By trying to define their place, they may experiment with various ideas and experiences. For example, nothing is more important to them than a genuine adult experience: to drive a car, movies with adult content, enter “pubs” and parties. Have the experience of drinking, smoking cigarettes, etc. The abuse of drugs and addictive substances, like many other problems, can be prevented, drug prevention works. After all, it is easier to prevent than cure.
Some of these recommendations may help:
• Learn to talk to them. Teens have their own styles of point of views, so communication is key in solving conflicts, if there are any, or to prevent them. Accept that they see the world differently; the first step is to communicate with your child. If you’ve not done it before, does not matter, start today.
• Learn to listen. It is important to listen, not just talk to your child, but listen to what they have to say; avoid interruption, if you interrupt, it will affect the confidence and comfort to continue communicating with you. Do not assume that your child understands what you mean. Ask questions or express back what you thought you heard to verify that you have understood correctly. Listen and try to understand it objectively and without bias; try to understand what your child is saying without judging their motives, opinions or conclusions. Observe their body language for signs of discomfort, emotions, etc.
• Be honest. Let your child know what do you want to talk and the reasons why. Put the cards on the table and tell him about your worries, anger or fear. Tell them how it feels to be a father; if your child knows that you are honest with him, he will be more willing to be with you. If you have not been honest in the past, it could take more time to earn their trust. They will be more receptive if you show that you can be flexible and that you sincerely take them seriously.
• Encourage positive activities. Help your children to participate in extracurricular activities or hobbies that provide a sense of accomplishment and belonging.
• Teach about action and consequence. Teach your child that an action is always followed by a reaction or answer. Help them assess the consequences before proceeding with an action. First you must consider what can happen, then decide if it is worth doing.
• Negotiate. To negotiate you should try not to judge or as little as possible. Discuss the options available to help them make their own decisions.
Some warning signs that suggest problems in this area and need immediate professional intervention:
1. Dropout and cut classes
2. Changing friends
3. Changing Priorities
4. Problems with justice
5. Lie, steal or borrows money
6. Change of clothing
8. Irregular patterns of sleep, among others.
To manage a maladaptive conduct that affects the welfare of your child, you should seek immediate help from a Mental Health Professional, Psychologist who possess knowledge in this area. If this is a concern for you right now, if you need more information about drug prevention, we can assist and will stay with you in the process.
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