When is too much, in fact, too much? There are multiple strategies on discussing substance use with out of control teenagers. Some argue that honesty about your own experiences with substances (if such experiences exist) is an important step to connecting with your child. Others argue that discussing your own experiences sends the wrong message by legitimizing substance use in your child’s eyes. As with many situations, the truth is, perhaps, somewhere in the middle. Depending on the particular situation, being candid may or may not prove useful.
The ultimate goal in a conversation about substance use with out of control teenagers is to make sure they don’t turn to drugs – or, if they have already started, to curtail them and nip them in the bud. Moreover, research shows that the earlier a child is exposed to substances, the more likely they will form an addiction. The individual parenting style is one of the key factors in determining how the conversation with your child should go. Whatever the case, however, there are several general tips to keep in mind in order to make out of control teenagers be more likely to open up themselves.
Tips for Talking to Out of Control Teenagers
The first thing to remember when talking to out of control teenagers is not to lie. While bringing up your own substance use may not be called for, there is no reason not to remain honest. Although it may seem tempting to attempt to frighten your children into not using drugs, sticking to the facts and calmly explaining your point of view goes much farther in keeping communication open. It is also important to note, oftentimes, adolescent drug use is a consequence of a deeper problem – a result of mental illness, bullying, or peer pressure, for instance. Talking to your child is crucial in exposing any potential problems early.
Making your child feel safe while discussing the issue is also vital in strengthening the relationship. Simply forbidding your child from using substances, unfortunately, can backfire – as is often the case with forbidden fruit, your child could find ways to hide their habits better. Instead, by letting your child know that they can approach you with their problem without fearing punishment, you encourage openness. At the end of the day, helping your child is the priority. By supporting your child through this difficult time, you ensure that they will stay on a healthy path.
Trails Carolina Can Help
Trails Carolina is a wilderness therapy program for struggling teens, ages 10-17. Our students commonly deal with issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, trauma, and other behavioral challenges.
For more information about Trails Carolina, please call 800-975-7303 today!
A graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Graham Shannonhouse has been actively involved in the wilderness therapy field for nearly three decades. After receiving her degree in 1991, Shannonhouse spent 10 years working with a premiere wilderness-based therapeutic program in south-central Idaho. During her tenure, she served three years as a hands-on Field Instructor, three years as Field Supervisor, and the remaining time as Wilderness Program Director. During this period she developed, managed, and served as counselor for the country’s first wilderness program specifically focused on pre- teens ages 10 to 13
Graham returned to the east in 2002 to serve as Executive Director for a therapeutic wilderness program based in North Carolina, successfully growing it to one of the most respected companies in the industry. In 2008, she resigned her position to open Trails Carolina. Having an intimate working knowledge of the roots of wilderness therapy, Graham has brought her experience and wisdom to her position as Partner and Executive Director with the goal of integrating the true family work that must be done to insure lasting success.