Three Behaviors That Could Push Your Teen Toward Drugs

The last thing any responsible parent wants is for his or her teen to become a drug addict, but many parents don't realize that their behavior may actually cause their teenager to take an interest in drugs. While many teens will experiment with drugs, perhaps trying marijuana once or twice, most of them won't get a habit. Others, however, can quickly gravitate toward addiction, which has the potential of significantly disrupting or even ending the child's life. As a parent, it's important for you to be aware of some behaviors of yours that might push your teen toward drugs. Here are some examples.

1. Normalizing Drug Use

You probably know that if you use drugs openly in front of your teen, he or she will be more apt to follow this behavior. What you might not know, however, is that normalizing drug use in any manner may steer your child toward experimenting. For example, if you talk about drug use as though it's no big deal, glorify addicts in the public eye, and perhaps shrug off your teen telling you about someone in his or her class being expelled or arrested for drugs, you're normalizing drug use; this may cause your teen to think that using drugs is no big deal.

2. Vilifying Drugs

Just as being casual about drug use can steer your teen toward experimenting, vilifying drugs and addicts can make your teen curious about this lifestyle. Teens have a knack for wanting to experience that which their parents don't like — this can be why some teens gravitate toward certain types of music and certain styles of clothing. These things are minor concerns compared to drugs, however. While it's important to give your teen an anti-drug message, you don't want to be so intense about doing so that it pushes your teen toward drugs.

3. General Apathy

Some parents take a hands-off approach to parenting once their children become teenagers, but this mentality doesn't always work. You could appear apathetic to your teen's activities, and he or she may feel as though it's tempting to experiment with drugs because he or she won't likely have to answer for it. Even if you feel uncomfortable about talking about drugs and checking up on your teen to ensure he or she is behaving appropriately, doing so can be enough to keep your child away from drugs. If your teen has a drug problem, contact a substance abuse treatment center right away.