Before the endless cycle of drug treatments, therapy and drug counselors and worse begin to circle your home like a tornado that won’t slow down. Let’s get to the core of why teens feel the need to take it in the first place.
Teenagers are going through a very vulnerable phase where fitting in gets more complicated and choices aren’t so clear anymore.
Some teens become drug users because that’s a sure way to fit in.
To be a member of the popular clique group requires loyalty, acceptance and seen as an equal. If that means breaking the rules, buying drugs and using it – it’s no brainer. For teens who are lonely on the fringes of their social groups, this is a way in and most will not miss that opportunity or need. You now “Belong” and to gain membership in your old or new high school is very seductive. The thought here is my parents won’t understand and this is where you have to create the dialogue that says “I do!”
A teen will find the “Drug Fun Train” isn’t all that it cracked up to be and soon start to run off track. At first, it appeared easy enough to get into the game and it is fun, but soon it starts to demand you to defy the rules of your home, your comfort and what you think you needed begins to fray. It has a mind of its own and you are scared to rock the boat. You get others seeing the doubt and that is now considered disloyalty or weakness. They will pounce on you and threaten you with bodily harm or worse if you try to leave. They see it as abandoning the group and that’s frowned on. In some groups, the teenager is told that if they become “chicken” they will hurt their family if you don’t do as they say whether It is stealing, hijack property, sell dope or use it. Slowly what a teen does to support the gang may well be to protect the family whose safety is threatened.
Some teen’s drugs are used for self-medicating to numb the pain of daily life.
The despair of daily stressors (school, social activities, demands at home, responsibilities in general, etc.) is for some teen just too overwhelming. An introduction to drugs, alcohol or other stimulants are bound to feel better in their minds and if at a party surrounded by their peers – watch out! The drug use increases because the teen feel like it releases a lot of what they are bottling up. Unfortunately, studies show that some teens are suffering from untreated depression or a high level of anxiety. However, if treated with proper medication early, these teens will no longer abuse illegal drugs.
Some teens feels a tremendous amount of pressure, sometimes from their own parents, guardians, and community, to be the best at all times. To stay competitive in everything you do will ultimately have a destructive effect and the “star” pupil will no longer reach for the sky or want to excel. Then what? The idea that they are no longer viable in the fields they used to excel creates a blow to self-esteem. So, begins the downward spiral from being the best to be the worst. It might get them negative attention, but it’s still attention. Right?!
Some teens use drugs for hoarding attention from peers or parents.
A teen in the throes of drug use no longer cares and slowly or quickly the academic, sports and school activities suffer in general. The star student is now barely getting passable grades which again adds to the despair and “I don’t care” attitude. If the star no longer gets the attention for great work, then being a “gang banger” might do the trick. Getting noticed by your parents for the wrong things may still get them riled up and that may still show they care. Even if as a teen you don’t really see their pain, they are your parents and they will be there. Taken for granted the anguish and pain that you are causing your parents. Unfortunately, most teens can’t quite connect on that level not until the consequences come calling. For now, the attention is still flowing and the pain is far away.
Some teen is just adrift and bored.
Initially play the “Defiant One” can seem exciting at first. However, the drama, stress, and risk of using, buying or selling drugs or hiding them can be a kind of cool high. It would be easy to ask this teen “Why not look for the natural high instead?” Doing things that do not involve feeling worse than you will in the long run. Finding another kind of excitement through passions and fun activities without drugs? What part of drug risk-taking is really worth the energy, time, cost or physical pain? What kind of healthy activities could replace using drugs, etc.? Finally, the real question to ask your teen before they go down this road is “What do you think is so scary about expanding your horizon, comfort zone or potential in a healthy, positive way?”
Some teens think that using drugs is a normal rite of passage.
Look around and they could tell you that they have friends whose parents are dope heads and probably smoke with them too. While adults can rationalize why they smoke and do illegal drug use that may not be as bad as alcohol, vaping and should be legalized too. Let’s face it, the number of tv ads about all the medications that can fix all kinds of ailment. Feeling like you need a lift? Try this? Pop one pill and feel right as rain. Take a drug for insomnia, or for a “Pick-Me-Up!” Let this drug company or that drug company help you get back to your normal self. Sounds familiar? We can see movies glorify the drug culture. Music makes it all sound so very cool and trendy. As parents, the need to model an environment that challenges teens receptors in other positive, healthy and creative ways. There need to be stimulating ways that teach our teens about the satisfaction and excitement that comes from stretching ourselves and succeeding.
Finally, of course, there is the possibility of a “Real” addiction to drugs. It’s simply not true that kids don’t develop a dependence on marijuana. Some do. It’s also possible that, as a parent, you don’t always know what else your child has been taking. So getting the correct information is critical to getting the right treatment too.
January 23, 2020
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Good habits formed at youth make all the difference.- AristotleAristotle