The abuse of prescription drugs has become a big problem in the world. When you combine this growing problem with teens who are naturally going through a stage where they are more likely to experiment, things can quickly spiral out of control.
If you have a teenager, here are 8 tips that can help.
Know That Your Child is Not Immune
The availability of prescription drugs from medicine cabinets, purses and even sitting on the table make them a danger to nearly everyone. The mistaken belief that these drugs are somehow safer because they are “legal” means teens are more likely to experiment when they find them.
Look For Behavioral Changes
It’s important that parents recognize what is “normal” behavior for their teen and take note of any changes that occur. Some changes to watch for include moodiness, changing their group of friends, changes in personal hygiene, etc.
These signs alone are not cause for alarm by themselves, but when you are aware of these types of changes in the life of your teen, it can help you identify problems before they become too large.
Talking to Your Kids DOES help
Clearly, modeling the behavior you want your children to follow is important. But studies have shown that talking to them also helps.
A study done at Brigham Young University found that the more involved teens said their parents were in monitoring and tolerating alcohol and drug abuse, the less likely the teens were to experiment.
The types of things kids experiment with are changing all the time. It’s important to check the National Institute on Drug Abuse website for teens.
You will find out what is really going on in the lives of teens today by learning street names for drugs (both prescription drugs and street drugs) as well as get some great pointers about how to talk to your kids about the dangers of these drugs.
Protect Your Prescription Drugs
It’s also important for you to keep track of the prescription drugs in your home. If you monitor your drugs, you will know as soon as a few of them disappear.
The best case is to keep the dangerous drugs locked up. If you can’t do that, keep track of what you have in the house and how many are left. As soon as you no longer need them, find a place in your community where you can take the leftovers instead of leaving them in your home for someone else to find.
Know Where Your Kids REALLY Are and Who is Supervising Them
Talking with the parents of your kids’ friends is a great way to make sure they really are doing what they’re telling you they are. If your teen is visiting a friend, ask if a responsible adult will be around. If you have doubts, contact other adults and find out if they are hearing the same story from their kids.
Monitor Their Electronic Devices
There is a fine line between making sure your kids are safe and invading their privacy and it’s important to not cross that line. It may be appropriate to tell younger kids that you will be checking their history and messages, but you will need to step back as your child grows up.
However, there are a growing number of apps becoming available that allow you to help you monitor what they’re doing, without invading their privacy.
Don’t Do It By Yourself
If you discover that your teen is involved in prescription drug abuse, don’t try to handle this issue on your own. Get help.
When you talk to others, it opens up a whole new world of support for you. You will find other families struggling with the same thing and will have more resources available.