Any parent of a teenager knows the many challenges they face. These are likely the most trying years for parents and their children. It is essentially the point in their lives where they desperately want their independence as they discover who they are and how they identify with their peers. From mood swings and breaking curfews to hanging with the wrong crowds and being influenced by the media, there is a lot going on. While it is important to allow as much freedom of expression as you can, as a parent you’ll have to protect them from dangers that they could be exposed to.
Get the Facts
No parent wants to ever believe that their teenager would end up doing something as reckless as abusing painkillers or other prescription meds, but the statistics speak for themselves. Surveys have proven that approximately 24% or approximately 5 million children have abused prescription medications. Most of these children start as early as the age of 12-14. While there are plenty of influences, some of the most common reasons for use include “everybody’s doing it,” things they hear in the media, and celebrity “role models.”
This might be a “hard pill to swallow” for some parents, but the truth of the matter is that teenagers are abusing prescription drugs at an alarming rate and if you don’t get out ahead of it, your child could end up experimenting, dependent upon them, and develop a serious addiction or overdosing.
Taking Preventative Measures
While preventing or minimizing the potential of your teen developing an addiction to prescription medications, the truth remains that many may already be abusing these drugs. If you suspect that your teen is dealing with addiction or abusing prescription drugs, you need to reach out to recovery centers such as Crestview Recovery for prescription drug treatment in Portland for assistance. Without further ado, here are some solutions for preventing your teen from abusing prescription meds.
1. Educate Them
In order for your teen to make an informed decision about using prescription drugs, it is important for them to have all the facts from a reliable source – you. While this might seem like an awkward conversation, it is one that you need to have with your teen before they learn about it from a group of their peers or another unreliable source. Talk with them about the dangers of using prescription drugs and what it can do to them physically and mentally.
2. Allow Room for Independence
When parents hold the reigns too tightly it can often backfire. It is important to allow your teenager room to grow and make small mistakes as they learn to determine who they are and where they fit in with their peers. This doesn’t mean you allow them to come and go as they please and never be held accountable. However, what it does mean is that you shouldn’t keep them from every party or prevent them from hanging out with their friends. This can quickly lead to rebellion, making poor choices, and hanging with the wrong crowd. Let them know there are rules and consequences and trust them to follow the rules. Also, follow up with consequences when they don’t.
3. Communicate Often
As your teen gets older, the conversations will get shorter and their excitement to tell you about what’s going on in their lives will fade. It comes with the territory of being a parent. That being said, it is important to try and remain as much in the know as possible in your teen’s life. Make time to spend with each of your children (oldest, middle, and youngest) so that they feel special. Talk to them about their day, school, their friends, and allow them to speak freely. If they know they can talk to you without judgment, they may be more inclined to tell you about friends who are using drugs – or if they’ve considered it themselves.
4. Keep Medications Locked Away
Medications should never be freely open for children to access them. Any medication should be locked away in a medicine cabinet so that your children have to ask you for a dosage if they need some. This will minimize accessibility and prevent the urge to use or even steal some for their friends to use.
5. Be Mindful of Their Influences
Influences do not only pertain to the type of children your teen hangs with, but also includes the type of media they have access to. “Popping pills” is a common trend in the music culture and is frequently online, on social media, and other places that you need to be mindful of. While you can’t necessarily cut them off from the world, you can set limits to the amount of screen time they’re getting.
Again, this can only minimize the chances of your teen abusing prescription drugs. The best thing you can do as a parent aside from the above tips is know the signs of addiction and get help right away. All in all, if you set the right foundation, lay down some ground rules, allow them to be who they are, and keep the lines of communication open, your teen should refrain from destructive behaviors like prescription drug abuse.