How to Talk to Your Teen about Addiction
To start off with, there is no question of whether or not a parent should talk to their children about addiction. The only questions should be how and when. Take one look in any of the rehabs in Orange County if you need verification that addiction is a serious issue, but don’t ignore it. Otherwise, you may end up facing it head-on in ways you never thought you would have to.
Maybe you are waiting for your children to start asking you questions before you give them information, but the truth of the matter is that you need to be the one asking questions. What do they think addiction is? Do they know anyone who has battled with addiction?
This doesn’t mean you have to start drilling your teen. It means that, by starting a gentle conversation and asking some questions, you may initiate a genuine dialogue between yourself and your teen. This building of trust is probably the most important first step.
Admit Your Faults
Whether or not you have an addiction is irrelevant. You don’t have to have spent time in an affordable drug rehab in order to let your child know that you’ve made mistakes and dealt with the consequences of them. At this point, it’s about letting your child know that you’re not just a parent, but also a human being with flaws and a history of doing human things, like making bad choices. Children and teens don’t want to bring their mistakes to those they have placed on a pedestal. They are afraid of being judged by such perfection. It’s time to show that your feet are made of clay, and you know it and are okay with it.
Addiction does not mean that you enjoy something more than you should. It means that you feel as if you need that thing. The problem is that some addictions are utterly unhealthy. An addiction to something like exercise can be healthy, as long as it is actively done in a healthy manner and doesn’t cross that line. On the other hand, an unhealthy addiction can be in the form of drugs, alcohol, sex, video games, or anything else that prevents you from living up to your potential.
Teens don’t have enough life experience to know that addiction isn’t picky when it comes to race, socioeconomic status, or anything else. It strikes people of all walks of life, and this may be the most important thing that your child comes to understand. They also need to understand that people dealing with addiction suffer from a medical condition, not a personality flaw.
The most important lesson here is to open the lines of communication, not to present a potential for harsh judgement. One day your teen or one of their friends or loved ones may need access to a low-cost drug rehab, and it’s going to be important for them to know they can turn to you. Education is one method of prevention, but compassion is the trait that catches people when they fall or stumble just a bit.