Teens who are numbing themselves through substance abuse may need some encouragement to turn to the adults in their life for support.
When parents come to me with concerns about a teenager who has begun experimenting with drugs, my recommendation is to begin addressing the problem by strengthening the parent-child relationship. In my experience, teens who have experimented with, and then continue using drugs are feeling isolated and emotionally cut off from the people in their life.
I explain to the parents that because feelings aren’t always comfortable, teens who strongly dislike feeling sad, anxious, angry or insecure will do almost anything to avoid these feelings. Self-medication through drugs or alcohol is often an attempt to regulate those uncomfortable emotional states.
We must begin by creating a safe space for teens to be open to receiving assistance. Success will ultimately be built on helping adolescents reclaim their dreams for their lives, and supporting them in taking the necessary steps to get there.
Inviting teens to take an honest look at themselves and their life allows them to determine if they are going in the direction they ultimately dream of. I help teens to identify realistic goals for themselves in the areas of health, academics, family relationships, friendships, and their self-image.
One key lies in re-directing your teenager’s focus from isolation and despair to hope and possibility. Supporting teens in discovering how to implement their goals, and addressing whatever issues have caused them to put their future on hold, will render obsolete their need to hide out in a substance-induced fog. Give your teen the gift of a lifetime … Schedule a free initial parent consultation.
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Taking the Trouble out of the Teen Years
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