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How to Speak to Your Teen About Substance Abuse

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Teen child daughter studying at home in kitchen with mom.

Teenage life can be incredibly formative. Your child learns to explore and self-experiment what they like or dislike. As such, the probability of developing risky behavior such as substance abuse is heightened.

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You may need to initiate the conversation with your child about the dangers of drug abuse early enough. Here are six tips to guide you as you talk to your teen about substance abuse. 

Understand the Earlier, the Better 

Most parents may find it challenging to hold an open discussion about drugs. It may sound easier for you to ignore the conversation, assuming your child receives drug education from school. Sadly, most school drug programs prove to be ineffective. 

Take up your responsibility as a parent to speak to your child about substance abuse. Please do not wait until their late teenage years. At 12, the chances are that your kid has already been exposed to certain types of drugs, and you may need to discuss the dangers of drug abuse. 

Be Honest 

You may need to be candid with your child about the dangers of substance abuse without exaggerating. Let your kid know that underage drinking is illegal. Talk about possession of drug paraphernalia which may lead to arrests and convictions. Let your child understand the cost of hiring criminal defense attorneys like Takakjian & Sitkoff

Pick an Appropriate Time and Place

You may need to make your child feel comfortable for you to have a more meaningful conversation. A dining table exchange may sound confrontational. You may want to target a simple discussion without accusations. 

A long car drive is an excellent place to start. You may also take advantage of teachable moments such as news or incidents in the neighborhood to break the ice. 

Build an Environment of Trust

You may need to create a safe space for your child, allowing them to reach out to you when facing a drug problem. You may establish trust by sharing your experiences with drugs. 

Whether you used drugs or not as a teen, being open with your child about the experiences may help your child be forthright with you too. 

Offer Support and Advice Whenever Possible

You may need to be attentive to your child’s responses. Do not freak out if you learn that your teen may have experimented on certain drugs. Losing your cool may only drive a wedge between you two. 

You can let your child know that you are glad that they can open up to you. Nonetheless, you still need to have a conversation about it. Talk about the harms of substance abuse and lay down consequences for any future use. 

Your child can learn that there are healthier ways to cope with stress than turning to drugs. 

 You should also have on hand information about a drug rehab center if your teenager is in deeper than you thought. You can talk together about the help facilities like these can provide.

Know the Signs of Substance Abuse 

You may need to be vigilant about your teen’s behavior, appearance, and habits. Downplaying the seriousness of drug use can severely impact your kid’s quality of life. Learning about the signs of substance abuse can help you seek out professional help for your child early enough. 


Drugs are one of the primary fears for parents of teenagers. You may need to initiate the conversation about substance abuse with your child. Have an open discussion with your teen that’s struggling with substance abuse about Adventure Program At Evolve Indy, which is a place of distraction away from addictive tendencies and the other visitors are going through the same problems. This is an opportunity to talk with these other rehabilitators.

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