“Scare the crap out of them” to keep teens away from drugs

drug abuse prevention among teens starts well before age 11, the average age children are introduced to drugs. Follow positive parenting plans and avoid drug abuse by teenagers . Adolescents must be empowered to say NO to drugs. Parents are the anti-drug

My worst nightmare is that picture would be my teenager. Photo source: http://www.rehab-center.com

The photo at right gives me the chills. I can only imagine the pain and helplessness of being the parent of a teen who abuses drugs & liquor.

Rule 1. Make family dinner non-negotiable. Everyone must show up and make pleasant conversation at family dinner most nights of the week. Research done by the National Center on Addiction and Substance abuse at Columbia University proves that teens who have family dinner five time a week or more are less likely to use marijuana and tobacco, drink alcohol and get drunk.

Tweens and teens will complain and resist. Too bad. Use the double E’s — encouragement and expectation. “I know you can arrange your schedule to be home for dinner. I expect you to be there.”

Rule 2. Educate them and yourself by “scaring the crap out of you.” When I asked my fourth “child,” (now 22) “Why didn’t you do drugs in high school?” She said “The movie, Requiem for a Dream scared the crap out of me.” I rented the movie and it scared the crap out of me, too. It brilliantly portrays a mother addicted to diet pills and young people and dealers hooked on heroin. The movie Trainspotting will also scare the crap out of you. Good! Fear and desire motivate us.

When I stumbled upon the book, “A Million Little Pieces” by James Frey, the nearly-true story of his drug addiction and recovery, the whole family (then ages 15-22) read the book within a few week. It’s a good story because the reader never knows what’s going to happen next.  Whether the story is true or exaggerated, it “scared the crap out of me” about drug use and addiction.

Rule 3. Do not condone drug/alcohol abuse either directly or with subtle hints, like “Boys will be boys,” or “Stay out of trouble tonight, honey, wink-wink.”  These double messages confuse teens. Avoid sarcasm when talking about substance abuse. Ask and confirm their whereabouts through spot checks, “Where are you going? Will there be adult supervision? Who is driving? When will you be home?”

Always give them these escapes: “If you ever find yourself in a difficult or dangerous situation, use me as the fall guy. Say, ‘I have to get home right now or my mom will kill me.’ Know that you can call me anytime from anywhere and I’ll come and get you, no questions asked, no punishment.”

And live up to the promise.

External resource for drug addiction help: http://www.withdrawal.net/learn/withdrawal-treatment/

Next: Part 3 on how to encourage good decision-making to keep them off drugs:  the college years

Explore posts in the same categories: drugs and alcohol, family dinner, Make good decisions, prepare, teenagers, tweens

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6 Comments on ““Scare the crap out of them” to keep teens away from drugs”

  1. Seano Says:

    So, how many times were you called for a pick up?

  2. deldobuss Says:

    Scare the crap out of them with your own drug/alcohol stories. Don’t make them sound cool, don’t reminisce about the times, just tell them how many times you about died/got arrested/regret doing something really stupid. I am always honest with my kids about my past addictions, and they were not the kind of fun you see on TV.

  3. raisingable Says:

    How old are your kids?

    I’d be careful with that kind of storytelling- it might unconsciously send a message and expectation to them to take unnecessary risks.

  4. deldobuss Says:

    I just meant be honest with your kids when they ask you. There is no reason to pretend like you are a perfect person if you struggled with addictions to alcohol and drugs and paid some pretty hefty consequences for them. Kids are not stupid, and the one thing they hate most are hypocritical parents. I cannot tell my kids “Don’t do drugs because they are bad,” and then have them find out I did every drug on the planet.

  5. raisingable Says:

    YES- I agree. Kids DESPISE hypocrites immensely.

    I’ve never said “Don’t do drugs/alcohol.” It’s unrealistic.

    With drugs, I’ve used education- and scareductaion. and discussion about the dangers – physically & legally.

    With alcohol, it’s about making good decisions. How much to drink. Staying legal, if possible. Not over-doing it. Driving sober. Asking, “Do you need to get drunk to have a good time?”

    What does it mean to be addicted? What happens to your life?

    I don’t want to normalize it and unconsciously set the expectation they should follow in my footsteps, especially if I’ve made some bad decisions.

    how old are your kids?


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