Substance Use

Adolescence is a phase where teenagers navigate the precarious bridge between childhood and adulthood. This phase marks immense emotional and physical changes as a part of one's development. Adolescents may engage in high risk, impulsive and exciting behaviours or acts because of the self-exploratory nature of this phase. One such act is that of substance use. Some of the factors that may place adolescents at a higher risk for engaging in substance use include:
 
  • Lack of communication and interaction between parents and adolescents
  • Poorly defined and communicated rules and expectations against substance use
  • Family conflicts
  • Low academic performance in school
  • Critical environment and lack of support 
  • Peer pressure
 
Parental guidance and support may help adolescents to stay away from the menace of substance use. Below mentioned strategies may help the parents to protect their child from substance use.
 
  1. Communicating with the adolescent about the risks of substance use.
  2. Being a good listener and offering support when encountered by an adolescent talking about the pressures they feel, their relationship with peers, or issues that as an adult may seem trivial.
  3. Modeling a good behavior and setting an example of responsibility with use of substances.
  4. Treating adolescents with respect and individuality.
  5. Being present to the child and being aware of his/her emotional states, such as self-esteem, being uncooperative or defiant.
  6. Spending time with the adolescent, knowing their interests, encouraging hobbies and making them feel proud of their strengths.
  7. Accepting the child for who they are, and allowing their own personal growth. 
  8. Expressing affection and love. Reassuring the child of being loved is important once in a while.  
  9. Seeking help from trained professionals and experts in case one has identified the adolescent to be using a substance to prevent further use and enhance self-control.   

"You cannot escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." - Abraham Lincoln