Teenagers just want to be cool. Whether that means getting a tattoo, wearing skinny jeans, or piercing their nose, if the other kids are doing it, they want to do it too. Unfortunately, it goes way beyond silly things like a Justin Bieber haircut. Peer pressure can be a very dangerous thing that can lead your son or daughter down the wrong path.

When a child reaches adolescence–about 13 or 14–he/she becomes extremely impressionable. On one hand, this can be a very favorable  component of maturing. Given the right role models, a teenager can be affected in wonderfully pleasant ways. A great teacher can truly bring out the best in a middle schooler, for instance. However, it works the other way as well. Negative influences can be just as seductive for an adolescent.

Be An Interested Parent

Negative influences can come from anywhere. We generally think of “peers” as kids the same age as your child. Always be in-the-know about your child’s friends. Have them over for dinner. If they’re reluctant to come, you’ve got your first point of contention.

Friendships should always be above board. A friend who isn’t comfortable coming to your home is hiding something untoward. The list of possibilities gets longer every day: cigarettes, alcohol, marajuana, methaamphetamine, “Mollys”, even heroin. Drugs have become more accessible than ever in our modern world and kids are starting use at younger ages. There exists a world of danger and decline for the teenager who is not armed against influence.

Don’t Skirt the Issues

Talk to your teenager about every dangerous substance. Don’t ever assume that your child “would never do that.” Discuss all illegal drugs and alcohol, but also discuss prescription drugs. It is often abuse of prescription drugs that feeds an interest in street drugs. Always keep medications safe in your home.

After you’ve had the discussions about substance abuse with your child, it becomes your responsibility to keep a vigilant watch on his/her behavior and the company he/she keeps. Be friendly and attentive when friends come over. Make yourself a part of your teenager’s life. Red flags can be spotted pretty quickly in peers who are posing a negative influence. If the teenager seems nervous and avoids eye contact with you, keep an eye on them. If your child behaves differently around a certain friend, that is cause for concern. Talking back or being secretive are both bad signs.

Parental Ground Control

You have to maintain control–and that’s not always easy with teenagers. When rebellion starts, it’s imperative that you put your foot down and stand your ground. You get to decide which of the friends stays or goes! Your teen is going to fight you every step of the way and deliver heart wrenching speeches about human rights, but you must not waver. It will require knowing where he/she is every moment of the day and night.

Once bad influence gets a grip on your teen, it’s hard to lasso them back in. Be preventative in your actions. Discuss the issues and closely monitor your child. It’s not going to gain you any popularity points with your kid, but it’s essential to be nosy. Ask a lot of questions and demand answers.

For more information on teen drug abuse and addiction treatment, contact Treatment Now’s expert specialists today.

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