While there are many obstacles that make it difficult for parents to raise healthy, happy teens, the fact that their child might experiment with drugs can make parenting particularly challenging. Oftentimes, parents are taught that building a friendship with their teens is a good strategy for drug abuse prevention. But how effective can this process really be in keeping teens away from harmful substances? Read the brief guide below to learn more about drug abuse prevention by building a meaningful relationship with your teenager.
Friendship-Defining The Term
In general, “friendship” is basically a mutually positive, meaningful relationship between two individuals. Friendships are marked by mutual respect and understanding as well as long-standing and a continually evolving bond. In terms of parents building a friendship with their teens, the development could involve anything from having conversations over the dinner table or taking one’s teenage child out to see a movie or other outing each week. The process of building a friendship with your child can be rewarding but unquestionably challenging. The reality of being a parent with a large age-gap can make it difficult for you to relate to your teen in a peer-like fashion.
Can Building A Friendship With Your Teen Prevent Them From Using Drugs?
Now that you have a basic understanding of what the development of a friendship with your teen would mean and involve, you can continue to delve further by learning more about how friendship development could curtail your teen’s susceptibility to drug use and encourage drug abuse prevention.
Here are three ways that cultivating a friendship with your child can be promote drug abuse prevention.
1. It Can Build A Relationship.
One of the reasons that teens opt to use drugs is because they feel alienated from people in their external environment. When this sense of estrangement becomes primary in a teen’s life, she or he will often turn to drugs to fill a void. However, when you take the time to cultivate a meaningful relationship with your teen, she or he will be less likely to experience weighty, sustained feelings of alienation from others.
2. It Can Facilitate Knowledge About Drugs.
Yet another benefit of developing a mutually fulfilling relationship with your teen is the fact that authentic friendships involve continual communication. Open communication can make it easier to facilitate trusting conversations about drug abuse prevention, discussing important matters like the dangers of drug use on the brain, body and other natural repercussions. Once you educate and empower your teen with knowledge about the mental and physical damage that can transpire if they opt to use illicit drugs, they will oftentimes avoid the experimentation entirely.
3. It Can Generate Self-esteem.
Often, teenagers feel good with the use of drugs because no one else makes them feel good about themselves. Low self-esteem is a contributing factor to teen drug use. Building a relationship and spending quality time with your child is a good strategy for drug abuse prevention and helps generate self-esteem. Your quality relationship shows your teen that she or he is worthy of attention. Once this development is established, your child will be less likely to turn anywhere else for comfort or validation as a result of low self-esteem or the need to prove his or her value to peers.
The Limits of Building A Friendship With Your Teen
As made plain by the brief outline found above, building a friendship with your teen can play a significant role in decreasing the likelihood that she or he will use drugs. However, there are limitations to this strategy. In short, parents have the right and authority to be the positive influence your teen needs; however, your child has the autonomy to make both negative and positive decisions, meaning that your attempt to operate as a positive force in his or her life can only do so much. For instance, if your teenager suffers from low self-esteem despite the fact that you give him or her extensive attention, the likelihood that the teen will turn to drugs as a source of comfort or relief is somewhat higher, but does not predict the choices your child will make. While it is definitely a good idea for you to develop a friendship with your child, it’s also important to understand that, ultimately, your children will be the decision makers-whether those decisions involve drugs or otherwise.
Get Help for Your Teen Now
If you believe that your teenager is currently experimenting with or addicted to drugs, call a medical professional immediately to help your child on the path to permanent recovery.