Today’s teens are growing up in an environment with pressures, stress and priorities vastly different from when we were their age. If you’re concerned that your son or daughter might be using drugs or alcohol — or if you know they are — it’s important that we, as parents, consider why. Some teens turn to drugs and alcohol for a variety of reasons, like fitting in, socializing, experiencing life transitions or dealing with emotional and psychological pain. Here’s why it’s important for you to recognize why kids might be drawn to substances and what you can do about it.
Keep in Mind:
Young brains are more vulnerable to drugs and alcohol. Research shows that the teen brain doesn’t fully develop until 25. Drugs and alcohol can alter this development, potentially affecting brain structure and function.
If there is a history of addiction in your family, if your child has mental health or behavioral issues, has suffered trauma or has impulse control problems, then your child has a much greater risk of developing a substance use problem. Be aware of these elevated risks and discuss it with your child regularly, as you would with any disease.