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April 29th, 2013

Drug Abuse – Parent Guide – Commonly Asked Questions


Why does my kid make risky decisions? I’ve taught him/her well. Why doesn’t he/she know better?

Many parents struggle with that very question. It turns out that according to A. Thomas McLellan, Ph.D., Treatment Research Institute, brain development continues into the early 20’s. The last part of the brain to develop is the decision-making region. So while you may think your kid is engaging in risky behavior, they may not have the ability to judge situations as well as an adult.

Why does my kid take the advice of their friends before they listen to me?

Many parents feel that their kid’s friends are more important to them than family. In fact, there is probably no one time in an individual’s life when the influence of peer pressure is stronger than in adolescence. Peer pressure is the result of a need to be accepted within social groups and gain freedom from parents and other authority figures. However, peer pressure situations can also lead to the temptation to use drugs, and parents should teach kids to make their own, informed decisions when offered drugs.

Why does my kid feel that drug use is “normal?”

Parents are aware that talking to their kid about drug use is an important deterrent, however, it is impossible to block the images that the media portrays that glamorize drug use. Drugs are normalized by television shows, movies, and music, and are often seen as “just what kids do.” While these images are found in every aspect of the media, it is important that parents identify and discuss these images with their kids.

Why is communication between me and my kid so important?

Healthy communication is a key component to the behavioral health and continued development of your kid. Effective communication is as much about the speaker as it is about the listener. We sometimes assume our kids are “checked out,” but could it be that we’re doing a poor job of engaging them? No one likes to feel like they’re being lectured or criticized, or that they don’t have a voice. Kids particularly struggle with how to express negative feelings, and sometimes speak or behave disrespectfully, aggressively, or immaturely. Part of our role as leaders is to try to access the unspoken message.

Why is dinnertime so important to preventing drug use for my kid?

According to The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, kids that have two or fewer family dinners per week are twice as likely to smoke daily and get drunk monthly. Family dinners create communication between you and your kid, and you’d be surprised what you discover about your kid through a simple conversation around the dinner table.


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Navigating the adolescent years is one of the largest and toughest responsibilities we will face as parents. It is scary to see someone that you care about engage in harmful choices. We are here to help you to prevent your child from making damaging life choices.

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