Vaping has become so widespread, it is being called an epidemic. If you have a teen in your home, you might feel a little panicked. This crisis is so new, so it’s hard to know how to approach it with our kids.
Dan Scholz, from Lifeline for Youth, and Jessie Funk, from Ivy Ranch, share three strategies to help you talk about addiction with your teens.
3 Ways to Talk to Teens About Addiction
Use Proper Terminology
When discussing addiction with teens, you have to come across as the expert. If your teen doesn’t think you know what you’re talking about, they won’t listen. Once you say one wrong thing, your teen will dismiss what you are telling them. If there is something you don’t know, go to Google. Another good resource is truthinitiative.org.
A lot of the time, parents come to the table unprepared to help their teen. They are caught up in their emotion and anger, and they want to discipline their child. Educate yourself and your teen will trust you. If you say something about the adverse affects without doing your research, your child is going to tell their friends and find out for themselves. If it turns out you were wrong, all of a sudden, you’re not credible.
Early detection is the best way to beat addiction. If your child reaches substance abuse level, it’s not too late, but it is a lot bigger of a problem and harder to deal with.
Teens are often dealing with bullying and cyberbullying. Checking in with your kids can help you become aware of these problems. If they’re already suffering from bullying, they don’t want rejection from their peers. If their friends are vaping or using drugs, they may turn to it too.
The opposite of addiction is connection. Parents know their child better than any professional. You know their idiosyncrasies, and you know when something is off. Pay attention to those things. Make sure your child knows you love them. Maintain that relationship and bond.