Exercise is not only a great way to start your day, but also good for keeping your body and mind in shape. It is also one of many ways to keep your kids off drugs during their young adult years. Ensuring they avoid drugs can be tricky and hard to manage, but there are ways to approach it without coming off as “the bad guy” in their eyes.
It is important to know why young adults get addicted to drugs. There are a few major reasons such as stress and wanting to fit in, but with the proper conversation, teen drug abuse can be prevented. Talking to your teen in a calm and open way can really open a dialogue and help you set the ground rules. And believe it or not, encouraging your teen to get involved with sports or other types of exercise dramatically decreases the chances of them using drugs.
If you want more information on how to help your teen avoid drug addiction, call us at 912-214-3867 today. Your teen shouldn’t have to worry about getting addicted to drugs while going through their early life. Using the proper drug deterrents for teenagers, including exercise, can shape their future for the better.
Read on to learn more about how exercise can help keep your kids off drugs, as well as other ways to deter drug use. Reach out to our experts for more information!
Why Teens Get Involved with Drugs
One of the scariest calls you could ever receive as a parent is that your child was caught using addictive substances. You may not think it could have ever happened to your child, but it’s important to realize there are multiple reasons why young adults will pick up using drugs. According to MedlinePlus by the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the four biggest reasons are as follows.
To Fit in
Social status plays a large part in a young adult’s life. There is a chance they are using drugs to impress a group of their peers and seem cool.
To Be Social
Many teens pick up substance use because they feel more relaxed in social scenarios. Drugs can lower your inhibitions and decrease social anxiety.
To Handle Life Changes
Change is not easy for anyone, especially for young adults. Some will fall back on drug use while dealing with changes such as moving or starting at a new school. A personal matter like puberty can make a young adult feel unhappy and unsure of themselves, so using drugs could be a response to that stress as well. Family matters, such as parents divorcing, are also a cause for substance use.
To Ease Pain and/or Anxiety
The final reason a young adult will use drugs is to calm their nerves if they are stressed about family, school, friends, mental health, or their self-esteem.
No matter the cause of a young adult’s substance use, it won’t help to blame them and make them feel worse about the situation. Starting a conversation with your child about the reasons they started using substances may open up a necessary dialogue. If you can learn why they are interested in using substances, then you can begin addressing how to keep your kids from doing drugs much more easily.
Talking With Your Teen About Drugs
Talking about substance abuse with your child will be an intimidating task, but don’t avoid it. Knowing ways to keep your kids off drugs is one of the most important things as a parent. By talking about substance use as early as possible, you will begin the path of teen drug abuse prevention before any serious problems can develop. The Alcohol and Drug Foundation recommends several steps when trying to talk about drug use with your child. They emphasize that these kinds of conversations should be relaxed and non-judgmental.
Get the Facts
Do your research on the different kinds of drugs your child may come into contact with.
Be Clear in Beliefs
Explain your beliefs to your child and why you believe them while using the facts you found to support your reasoning.
Look for the Right Time
This conversation is best started with a segue. You might try using television or movies as a conversation starter. Or, if your child is going to be attending a party or gathering, that might also be a good time to have a discussion about drug use.
Ask Them Questions
Get your child involved by asking their beliefs on drugs. Make sure to remain non-judgmental, but make sure they have the right information.
Explain the Harms
Be factual when talking about the harms and benefits of drug use. The ADF recommends not over exaggerating the harms of drug use because your child will find you less credible.
Set Rules and Consequences
Be clear with your rules, basing them on the facts that you have found. Make sure the consequences are clear as well for if they are ever caught using drugs.
No one could have prepared you for this conversation, but every parent will have to have it, especially if they suspect their child of using drugs. It’s important to lay out all the information you can so your child can have a deeper understanding of drug use and how to best avoid it; knowledge and understanding of drugs is one of the best ways to keep your kids off drugs. Also, discuss situations they might find themselves in and how they can spot signs of trouble. Finally, don’t forget to encourage them to get involved in sports and other physical activities, as these will help keep your child out of trouble both by improving their self-esteem and by keeping them busy. We’ve all heard the saying about idle hands.
Ways To Keep Your Kids Off Drugs
As a parent of a young adult, you will have some difficult discussions ahead of you. You will need to properly educate yourself on the different kinds of drugs and why your child might use them, but how do you actually prevent your child from using drugs? Mayo Clinic has conducted research on some of the best ways to keep your kids off drugs.
Get and Stay Involved
Build a strong relationship with your child. Get involved in their interests and make them feel appreciated. (Joining them for a run or a pickup game is one great way to do this). Meet your child’s friends and their parents, and create relationships with them.
Be a Role Model
Your actions as an adult and parent will influence your child’s behavior. Don’t use drugs recreationally, and if you drink alcohol do so in moderation.
Set Clear Rules
Rules should be determined with the best interest of your child in mind. Tell them to leave parties where drugs are present and reconsider befriending those who are actively using drugs.
Know What you Teen is Doing
Don’t take this step too far, but it is helpful to know where your child is by having them check in with you during the day. Mayo Clinic says that unsupervised teens are more likely to experiment with different drugs.
Encourage Healthy Activities and Habits
Getting your child interested and involved with different activities or hobbies will also reduce their chances of getting involved with drugs. Endorse afterschool programs, sports, or even part-time jobs as a way to keep them busy.
Watch Personal Prescriptions
A lot of parents take prescribed drugs for different physical or mental problems, and some teens will steal their parent’s prescriptions if no one is paying attention. Keep your prescriptions in a safe place and keep track of how much you use.
There are no guaranteed ways to keep your kids off drugs. There are too many situations you can’t plan on and prevent, but by staying involved and encouraging healthy activities, you will give your child the best chance of staying drug-free. One of the most effective ways is getting them involved with sports, which naturally functions as a drug deterrent for teenagers.
How Exercise Helps with Drug Prevention
A young adult that is active in physical activities such as school sports has a much lower chance of using drugs. The National Institute on Drug Abuse states that physical activities help the body remain healthy and stimulate the brain. Their research shows that “exercise promotes the formation of blood vessels in the brain, forges a connection between cells, enhances repairs of neural tissue and generates new neuron connections.” Effectively, exercise helps the brain become more tolerant of stress. This is so important because stress is a major trigger that causes people to begin using drugs.
Exercise isn’t the only reason teens who are involved in sports have a lower chance of addiction. Sports can be a great source of social support. Coaches, teammates and family all contribute to the sense of accomplishment and connection that sports can provide, and since addiction thrives most in isolation we can see how beneficial this is. Furthermore, the social environment surrounding sports in one of the healthiest you are likely to find: a team works toward excellence as a group. Not only will teammates be inclined to stay off drugs for the sake of their physical performance at practice and during games, but they will also encourage your child to do the same.
The NIDA points to high school as the most critical period to reduce or overall prevent teen drug use. If a child gets involved with sports or general exercise early in their high school years, the benefits can carry forward through their teen years and well into adulthood.
Let Us Help
You can help prevent drug addiction in your teen without using scare tactics. Open up their mind with a healthy discussion about drugs and what risks they need to know about. Don’t exaggerate the risks, because your teen will know you are trying to scare them. The actual facts about drug use are scary enough without embellishment, and your teen will take you more seriously.
Set ground rules for them to follow, and try to make them understand how the rules are designed with their best interest in mind. Get involved with your child’s life and set a good example for them. The best drug abuse prevention for teens is their parents being a good role model.
Additionally, get your teen involved with school sports and other forms of exercise. This not only helps their body and mind become stronger, but they now have a support group in the form of coaches and teammates. Their susceptibility to drugs will be lowered with exercise, and stress will be less of a trigger to lead them down that path.
If you want more information about drug abuse prevention in teenagers or ways to keep your kids off drugs regardless of their age, call us at 912-214-3867 today. Your teen has a bright future ahead, and we are here to help you keep it that way.
Written by Tristan Kutzer
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