There is no question that the strong foundation built during adolescence plays a critical role in the personal and professional success one is ultimately able to enjoy. Parents who wish to help build such a foundation during the adolescent years surely understand the importance of preventing substance abuse as well as substance abuse’s ability to wreak havoc on every aspect of one’s life regardless of age. During the teenage years, however, the severity of the consequences caused by substance abuse is far greater and much more difficult to overcome.
Preventing substance abuse in teenagers requires tremendous support from a robust network of family and friends. Each of the following tips from Groza Learning Center, is effective in helping prevent teenage substance abuse on its own, but a comprehensive approach is far more likely to be successful in avoiding the negative consequences that directly stem from substance abuse.
Understand the Physical, Biological, and Environmental Risk Factors
Due to various physical, biological, and environmental risk factors, some individuals are more prone to engage in substance abuse than others. Some of these risk factors can be controlled — a positive change to one’s environment and surroundings, for example — but others, such as a genetic predisposition, must be actively mitigated. It is much easier to prevent substance abuse when one is able to recognize the various risk factors that exist in order to develop a strategy for eliminating or mitigating the influence of those risk factors.
Strive for a Healthy, Balanced Lifestyle
Since a lack of balance in a teenager’s lifestyle can lead to a drastic increase in the likelihood of substance abuse, it is particularly important that parents take great care in ensuring an ideal lifestyle balance exists. Effective time management strategies are helpful in ensuring all obligations, academic or otherwise, are met while leaving ample time for positive social and recreational pursuits.
Establish and Maintain an Open Dialogue
Although it is often difficult to discuss the subject of substance abuse with a teenager, an open and honest dialogue can play a fundamental role in reducing the possibility of substance abuse becoming an issue. Teenagers should feel comfortable enough to ask questions about any issues associated with substance abuse and, armed with accurate information, will find it much easier to navigate situations in which peer pressure might otherwise be difficult to overcome.
Set and Pursue Short- and Long-Term Goals
Parents should take time to regularly discuss their teenager’s individual goals in order to help develop specific objectives designed to achieve those goals. With short- and long-term goals and objectives in place, teenagers are much more likely to understand how substance abuse can inhibit their ability to achieve those goals.
Encourage Positive Peer Relationships
Adolescents whose peers engage in substance abuse are simply more likely to engage in substance abuse as well. It is for this reason that it is so important to encourage and foster the development of positive and healthy peer relationships based on the pursuit of mutual goals.
Groza Learning Center, GrozaLearningCenter.com
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