Just the Facts
Armed with information, you are empowered to act.
Facts about the teenage brain.
Let’s start by taking a good hard look at the teen brain, because the brain is one of the main culprits in determining why teens act the way they do and why they engage in risky behaviors. If you can understand a little more about the teenage brain, you may be able to have a conversation and help teens decide about how to make wise choices and avoid illegal substances and other risky behaviors.
This is a great article summarizing how the teen brain works.
This article gets a little more technical, but you can’t argue with science….
Facts about drugs.
Knowledge is power! The more you know about what drugs are out there and what their effects are, the easier it will be to have a meaningful and rewarding conversation with your teen.
The Drug Enforcement Agency has an excellent series of information fact sheets on many kinds of drugs.
Facts about alcohol.
We teach our children about healthy eating because we know that what goes into the body affects how they grow and develop. Same goes for alcohol. Alcohol can have many detrimental short and long-term effects on the young body. Here’s some information for you to share with your child, when you talk to them about staying alcohol-free for their teen years and into their early twenties.
Aimed at college students, but useful for everyone, this interactive map of how alcohol affects the body. It’s pretty cool to use!
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism is part of the NIH and offers comprehensive information on facts about alcohol. This section deals with the effects of alcohol on the body - there’s a lot of them!
Facts about addiction.
90% of addictions start in the teen years – did you know that? That’s good information to know and share with your teen. Here’s the science behind it: Drugs, Brains, and Behavior: The Science of Addiction.
Tips for parents and caregivers.
Now you have the facts…..what’s the best way for a parent to get all this information across (without being met with eye-rolling)? First of all, let’s look at it from your child’s point of view and understand why your child might choose to use alcohol or drugs.
We have answers for you. Here are some good parent resources and tips for what to think about and do when parenting your child during their teenage years.
Again, from NIDA, this is a great resource on what to think about in terms of parenting….
Now, onto that conversation and avoiding the eye-rolling? (Well, they may roll their eyes when you are talking, but they may think about what you said later.) We recommend two resources on how to talk to your child about alcohol. The first is from the NIH and the second is from the SAMHSA.
And just because one approach does not suit all families, here are some more tips from New York State which has great suggestions you can use any time on the many aspects of parenting for underage drinking prevention, including tips to help prevent underage drinking, making the talk count at every age, and what messages you can send your kids to affect their choices.
Health and wellness.
Let’s focus on positive ideas to keep your child safe and healthy in their teenage years. This means teaching and helping your child to cope with the daily stresses and anxieties of life so that they do not become overwhelming.
Take a deep breath and read this article about mindfulness apps.