Arguably, raising a teen is one of the difficult phases of parenting. These little humans have a tendency of ‘growing horns’ or the entitlement mentality kicking in at an alarming rate.
However, when done correctly and with love and patience, this phase can turn out as one of the most fulfill.
So how do you help your child say no to drug abuse at this vulnerable stage?
- Be a friend and an active listener
Just like any other relationship, parents and Kids relationship require active listening. Make sure your child feels comfortable bringing problems or questions to you. Be open with them. Explain how taking drugs can hurt their health, their friends and family, and their future. Tell them you don’t want them to do drugs.
Your job is to open the lines of communication about drugs and keep them open, so start early.
- Stay involved in your child’s life
In as much as they are in a stage where you don’t need to monitor them often, it is always advised to always know what they are doing and where they are. Don’t assume that just because they are legally old enough to be home alone, that they are ok being left for hours at a time. Kids that come home from school to an empty house will find ways to keep themselves busy, and this is when many of them start experimenting with drugs or alcohol.
- Build their self-esteem
Having that strong bond/connection with your child begins with you by being their number one fan no matter the circumstance. Help your child find something they are good at, give them encouragement and praise, and let them know you love them and are proud of them no matter what.
- Be a role model
Do not preach water and drink wine! Kids at this stage tend to pick up their parent’s behaviors. Keep yourself away from drugs and drunkenness. Teens do look up to their parents and will follow their actions more than words. Let them see you taking care of your body and following healthy habits. Also, do not have people in the house who abuse drugs and alcohol.
- Set clear rules and enforce them fairly
Kids need rules they can count on. That is how they learn for themselves what is safe and what can get them in trouble. Your children need to know you care enough to disciple and follow through on your policies. Failure to disciple is a failure to love them.
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