Teenagers and Drugs

Why do teenagers use drugs? Why not? Do all teenagers use drugs? Probably not. There are a variety of opinions about teenagers’ use of drugs. These opinions usually suggest that teenagers just want to experiment, try new things, or have some “out-of-body” experience. However, “using” drugs is different from “misusing” them. A misuse of substances may include other variables, such as mood, problems at home or in school, fear of failure, mistaken ideas, along with other possibilities. Drug use most often starts with wanting to try something new and/or to get away with something.

Teenagers are relatively free from responsibility. They do not have to survive by their wits, make money, support someone else or themselves, and they can make choices that do not carry severe consequences. Parents try to help their kids see long-term consequences so that they will be able to create relationships and a career, live independently, and have a satisfactory life. However, the connection between going to school, getting good grades, making friends, and — to teenagers — the far-away future, is a tenuous one at best.

Thus teenagers are in the enviable position of having few cares and worries along with relative freedom. What does this mean to them? What does it mean to their parents? For teenagers, it is a precarious balance between enjoying life and learning responsibility, between making decisions and living on the edge. For parents, it is a balance between setting limits and trying to trust.

How does our current culture help kids manage set the parameters for decisions both parents and kids make? It does so in significant, but unclear ways. It is a dangerous world. Gangs, easy access to alcohol and drugs, fear of the future, changing norms, are variables that “up the ante,” making it difficult for kids to negotiate a path toward their particular future. There are many possibilities and also many problems and fears. Kids may be better than their parents at dealing with multiple technologies, but they may not be as adept at dealing with multiple possibilities.

Drugs and alcohol are numbing. They affect the central nervous system. They change one’s position toward one’s life. For kids, this often seems like a good thing.

For parents it is a scary proposition. How do parents try to help kids manage the many possibilities that are available to them and focus on what works specifically in their lives? Visit this site and give them a call.

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