If you want to prevent your teenager from trying drugs, firstly, regularly talk with them about drugs whenever the topic of drugs crops up. Teenagers get the message that drugs are bad for them, but they’re sceptical and a bit curious about what they’re like. Over-exaggerating the harm drugs can do can have the opposite effect you want, so it’s useful to find out the real facts. And to acknowledge that the first time someone tries drugs they get a high that they find enjoyable and fun. The problem comes when they want to get that feeling again. That’s why it’s easy to get addicted to drugs. Just a few uses will start a teenager wanting another fix, with the accompanying lies, guilt, sometimes stealing and the damage it does to their self-esteem.
Longer-term, it affects a teenager’s memory, concentration, sports and school performance. They lose friends and feel distant from their family.
And the question you want to ask your teenager is – is it worth the risk?

Secondly, find out what they think and tell them your expectations. Ask your teenager about their views on drugs.

  • Why do teenagers try them?
  • Are there students in their class who’ve tried drugs?
  • What do they think about that?
  • What effect do different drugs have?
  • Why do some teenagers get addicted?
  • How would they react if someone handed them a joint at a party?
  • How would they say ‘no’ to a friend offering them drugs?

Be open-minded and accept your teenager’s opinions.
Don’t get angry or critical about their views or they won’t want to talk about drugs in the future.
Instead, offer to do some research with your teenager about drugs to help you both learn a bit more.
But remember to do this in a spirit of curiosity.
However, it’s important to tell your teenager – explicitly- that you don’t want them to try drugs. Teenagers are much less likely to take drugs if parents tell them they disapprove.
And ask your teenager if you have permission to search their room if you ever suspect they’re taking drugs.

Finally, the best protection against your teenager using drugs is: have the sort of relationship where they don’t want to disappoint you. If you

  • Have a good relationship with your teenager.
  • You spend time with them.
  • Chat with them regularly.
  • Go to parent’s evenings at school o watch their sports games and activities.
  • Have a laugh
  • And do things with them, they won’t want to let you down.

And that is the biggest deterrent to your teenager using drugs.

So to prevent your teenager from trying drugs, 3 things you can do are to:

  1. Regularly talk with them about drugs.
  2. Find out what they think and tell them your expectations.
  3. Have the sort of relationship where they don’t want to disappoint you.

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If you need more than three tips on this – or you’d like to discover the secrets you need to have happy well-behaved, children – please contact me by clicking here. You can arrange a free 20-minute (no obligation) chat to find out if working with me personally (by phone, Skype or face-to-face) would help you and your family. Contact Elizabeth

child behavioural expert
The author:

Elizabeth O’Shea is a parenting specialist child behaviour expert and one of the leading parenting experts in the UK.

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