If you are a parent of an adolescent who has a history of drug and alcohol abuse, it can feel stressful and overwhelming whenever you attempt to connect with and motivate them. Motivating teens is difficult, especially when drugs or mental health issues complicate things further.
Learning how to communicate while motivating teens to make responsible choices is imperative to prevent them from following a dangerous and potentially life-threatening path in life. With a few tips, rediscover how you can properly connect with your teen while providing a safe and healthy lifestyle for them to emulate as they grow into adulthood.
Signs and Symptoms of Drug and Alcohol Abuse in Adolescents
Signs and symptoms of drug and alcohol abuse in teens do not always present themselves in the same fashion. Knowing your teen’s personality and typical behavior is extremely important to determine whether or not there is a larger issue at play. Some of the most common physical signs to look for in teens that have become addicted to drugs and alcohol include:
- Shakiness in the hands and limbs. Unexplained tremors.
- Red eyes
- Dilated or constricted pupils
- Pale or flushed skin
- Increased sweating
- Frequent unexplained nausea and vomiting
- Inability to sit or stand still
- Mouth and body sores
Unfortunately, drug and alcohol addiction does not simply lead to physical withdrawals and symptoms. There are also psychological signs to look for along with changes in your teen’s behavior such as:
- Preoccupation with obtaining drugs or alcohol
- Inability to remain focused on work, school, and friends
- Loss of interest in hobbies and extracurricular activities
- Loss of interest in friends and maintaining an active social life
- Withdrawal and isolation
- Increased depression and anxiety
- Loss of appetite
- Pathological lying
- Sneaking out of the house or lying about whereabouts
- Irritability and inability to control emotions
- Suicidal ideation
- Increased nihilistic behavior
- Lack of care for family, friends, and future
Get to Know Your Teen on a Deeper Level
Start motivating teens by getting to know what they’re into or their current exploration. In order to effectively modify and improve the behavior of your adolescent child, getting to know them on a deeper level is a must. When your teen feels they are able to open up to you while trusting you it becomes much easier to address problematic issues that are plaguing them.
Spend time one-on-one with your adolescent, even if you have other children in the household. Ask your teen about their interests, passions, and where they see themselves in the near future. If your teen is feeling sad, despondent, or annoyed, ask them why and how you can help without yelling or punishing them. Providing your teen with a safe space to talk to you is necessary if you believe they may be using and abusing drugs or alcohol for any reason.
Use Positive Reassurance and Motivation
Use reassuring and praise in order to help motivate your teen whenever you notice them engaging in positive interactions. When your teen is proud of a school project, helps their younger sibling, or completes chores without being asked to do so, offer praise and positive motivation. When motivating teens, avoid constantly nagging or using negative threats to encourage your teen, especially if you believe they are struggling with alcohol or drug abuse. When your teen views you as a positive role model and an altruistic individual, it becomes much easier for them to remain open and honest with you.
Provide challenges for your teen if they are highly intelligent or skilled but deeply unmotivated. Children who feel unchallenged are likely to become bored, despondent, and apathetic about the world around them. Offering up challenges inside and outside of the home helps to provide the motivation your teen needs to make positive changes to their life.
Understanding the signs and symptoms of drug abuse in teens and how to best manage and cope with them is essential for all parents, even if you have multiple children in the home. When you have clarity regarding your teen’s own addiction and habits, motivating teens could be easier while teaching them the proper way to live responsibly. If you are seeking an additional resource for your teen as they work through their addiction to drugs or alcohol, consider an inpatient treatment program at Beachside Teen Treatment Center to help get them on their way.