There has been a lot of disturbing news about teenagers engaging in drugs and social promiscuity. Last month a number of them were found in a bus that costs thrice as much in fare as a normal bus because it would allow the high school students do whatever they wanted. On Sunday 550 children were found in a basement pub with drugs, alcohol and condoms in their possession. 500 of them were underage with the youngest only being 12 years old. If it was 1970 we would have said that children are the community’s responsibility but sadly this is not the case now. In both scenarios, adults were present and they acted as a catalyst to the problem rather than a solution.
I have a compiled a list of 5 reasons as to why teens are involved and possible solutions
1. Peer pressure
Teenagers are most prone to peer pressure. They do not want to be left out or made fun of. So if their friends tell them to have a sip of alcohol they will not decline like a normal underage person would. They will sip and gulp and finish that glass. They crave for validation from their friends and want to be members of the in crowd.
Talk to them about friends and the consequences of drug abuse and sexual promiscuity. Show them real life examples of people who are in deep and the regrets they have. Give them criteria for finding friends who have objectives same as theirs and how they can keep those friends who add value.
2. Lack of parent child communication
A child needs their parents to show them the way. They would like their parents to talk to them, tell them that they are loved and also show them that they are loved and cared for. Children are curious and if you don’t tell and show them how to behave they will find someone who will. This people will range from friends to fictional characters in movies and there is where they start trying drugs and alcohol.
Sit down with your children as much as possible and have them tell you about their day and activities they were involved in. participate in their hobbies and congratulate them when they do something good. Listen to them and offer a supportive hand.
3. Unsupervised accessibility
This is one of the major problems. Having a parent or a resident of the same house that drinks alcohol at home or smokes cigarettes mostly has a negative effect on the teens. Some teenagers will choose to be sober if the drugs and alcohol ruined their family. If you have internet connected devices make sure they have parental locks that prevent them from searching some phrases.
If you have alcohol in the house, keep it locked in a cabinet. Do not drink when the child is at home. All medicine present in the house even the ones the child takes should be under lock and key.
4. Escape and self-medication
If a teen is frustrated, living in a conflicted home or shy they may use drugs to forget about that. The shy ones will use drugs to help them say and/or do things they will normally not do. This kind of happy state can get addictive as it gives them an escape form the problems in their normal environment.
Don’t fight near the children or make them chose who they like better. Find what your shy child likes doing and enroll them in a program or have private classes where they can better their hobby. If it is singing, bring them a music teacher and have them practice and portray their messages through music.
5. As an act or rebellion
When teens believe that they are not being heard, they will find something to hurt the parents. Most turn to drugs and alcohol because of this. Some want to grow up so fast and don’t want to be perceived as children so they drink ‘adult’ drinks. If you are a nagging overbearing parent the teen feels smothered and will lash out.
Talk openly and directly to your child. Keep the doors of communication open from a very early age so they talk openly to you. This way you won’t have the headache of second guessing what they really mean and what they want to convey.
All in all parents are just supposed to be involved in their children lives. Build a trust relationship that will go all the way past teenage years. Cultivate a culture of openness and all round family involvement.
Rachael is a writer, book reader, TV series fanatic, cat person and a sarcastic friend. She writes because she likes to tell stories and give her views on most things. She also runs her own blog at http://girlsansdoubts.com