Teenagers are more prone to risk taking because their brain is not fully developed. They tend to get attracted to unhealthy habits easily. Teenage is the critical period for the onset of unhealthy habits such as substance abuse. According to a recent report by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 9 in 10 addicted people began smoking, drinking and/or using other drugs before the age of 18 years.
Substance abuse at teenage has crippling effects on the individual. Some of them may include lower grades, unemployment, traffic accidents, risky sex, chronic health problems, crime and violence. It may also lead an individual to suicide or death.
As a responsible parent, it is your duty to make sure that your teen does not get into these devastating unhealthy habits. Here are some tips that can help you guide your teen away from unhealthy habits.
Your kid is getting older
You need to accept the fact that your kid is growing and s/he may change. Once they get into teenage years, they change physically and psychologically. They feel independent and try to form their own social circles. They believe that teenage is a state of freedom from all the rules and regulations set by parents and teachers. This is the time when the possibility of making wrong choices is more. As a parent, you should monitor their activities and guide them in a right direction.
Maintain open communication
As discussed above, many teenagers like to be independent. But maintaining open communication and trust-worthy communication with your teen is essential to help your teen make right choices. Communicate with your teen regularly and encourage him to talk about his interests, dreams, problems and fears.
Remember, strict monitoring and pestering or yelling at their activities will result in a communication gap. If you are setting certain restrictions, explain their importance so that they do not take it in a negative sense.
Help your kid choose friends wisely
The influence of friends on teenagers is very powerful. Many teens simply follow their friends without bothering about the consequences. Teens many times use drugs or alcohol to fit in their friends circle. Many teens start with experimentation due to peer pressure and end up in addiction.
Teach your kid in the early stages on how to choose a friend. Help your kid develop a sense of identity by which he feels secure. This makes him create a set of standards for himself and choose friends who match those standards.
Offer tips on how to avoid peer pressure
Peer pressure is often a result of not choosing friends wisely. There are enough teens in our society, who can encourage your kid to get into unhealthy habits. Teenagers who lack confidence and self-esteem are more likely to join these groups for emotional support.
Teens do not turn to bad peers, if they get enough support from parents. So spend time with your kids and offer tips on how to avoid peer pressure. In this way, you can teach them how to stay away from unhealthy friends and strengthen your relationship with them.
Explain the risks associated with unhealthy habits
Keeping teens away from unhealthy habits requires constant monitoring and proper corrective measures, which your kid may dislike. Instead, you can achieve your objective by getting them continuously explained about the risks associated with unhealthy habits. Tell him how it negatively impacts his physical, financial and social well-being. Give examples, of people who are suffering due to their unhealthy habits. Keep him busy with healthy activities such as physical exercises, sports, yoga, etc.
Set yourself as an example
The environment in which the kid has been brought up determines his habits. Try to be a good role model for your kid. What you practice is a more powerful message than what you teach. Set right your behavior and attitudes towards unhealthy habits. Remember, you cannot expect your kids to stay away from bad habits to which you are addicted.
Help your kids understand the nature of addiction and risks associated with substance use among teens. Remember, prevention is better than cure. It is better to prevent your teen from getting into unhealthy habits, than making him quit them later.