content top

4 Ways to Talk to Your Teens About Addiction

4 Ways to Talk to Your Teens About Addiction

Talking to a teen about addiction is a delicate situation that calls for careful planning and emotional restraint

Approaching a teenager about addiction is stressful, but you will have a better chance of success and be better prepared for the conversation if you have a plan in place before you sit down with your child. Every teen is different and may require a different approach, so here are a few ways for you to approach your teen about addiction. Starting an honest conversation is the hard part, but the conversation will get easier once the ball is rolling.

Be Direct, but Not Angry

Substance abuse is a serious problem that can have devastating consequences. It is natural to feel angry if you know that your child has been sneaking around abusing drugs, but taking your anger out on him will most likely lead to more bad behavior. Show your concern for your child’s wellbeing instead of lashing out in anger. Tell him you are concerned, because you want him to be safe and to talk openly about why substance abuse is dangerous. Approach the topic with sensitivity instead of launching into a lecture or tirade. Do not start off with accusations; instead, start with questions. Ask him directly if he has used drugs or alcohol, and ask about his abuse habits. Be honest if you have discovered any of his substance use, and give him an opportunity to talk about his concerns. An open discussion about substance abuse will give you a better chance of success than getting angry with your teen.

Plan Ahead When You Can

Because talking with your child about addiction is so stressful, it is important to have a game-plan before you sit down. Take notes and come up with key talking points beforehand so you do not forget important topics during your conversation. If you know what drug your kid has been using, then do some research so you understand its effects, side effects and addictive nature. Your own research will make you more informed about the problem, which means that you will know what you are facing as problems unfold. Come up with a list of questions you have about substance abuse and other concerns.

Do Not Use Fear

The dangers of substance abuse is what is on your mind right now, but only focusing on the consequences may sound melodramatic to a teen and drive her away. The negatives of substance abuse should certainly be highlighted heavily, but also make it a point to talk about the positives of sobriety. Talk about how the clear-headedness of sobriety will make her feel more energetic and productive. Being sober will allow her discover new, fun activities to do, which will give her the opportunity to fulfill her potential. If you have serious concerns about your teen’s safety (such as driving under the influence or going to school high), then discuss those issues with a therapist or other professional before confronting your kid. These workers can give you direction on how to handle the situation and what your child needs.

Make Treatment Mandatory

Talking to someone about addiction is tricky, because you must convince him to seek treatment, but the situation is different when you must talk with your own child. If you are the legal guardian of a minor, then you do not need his consent to enroll him in addiction treatment or therapy. When it comes to the plan for your child, be clear that you are the decision-maker. One way to do this act is by starting the discussion about treatment with firm statements: “since your mom and I believe your substance abuse issues are out of control, we are going to schedule a therapy appointment for you next week.” Be firm that there is no room for discussion regarding receiving treatment, but be willing to speak openly about why you think he needs such help. This discussion is not a negotiation, but it is important for your child to understand both why you think he needs help and what exactly will occur during therapy or addiction treatment.

Is Your Teen Addicted?

If your child is suffering from addiction, then there is probably nothing more that you want than to see her make a full recovery. Addiction treatment can help your child come to terms with her addiction, learn to cope with cravings and stay sober when she leaves rehab. To learn more about rehab, call our toll-free helpline now to speak with an admissions coordinator about therapy. Our staff are available 24 hours a day; they can answer any questions you have about teenagers with addiction and how treatment will help them. If you have health insurance, then be sure to have your policy information ready in order to find out if it will help pay for rehab. Our staff can help you get in contact with a quality addiction treatment center today, so pick up the phone and get your child the help she needs.