Listen to Your Kids Because Talking to Them About Drugs Doesn't Always Work
Posted Aug 16 2009 10:03pm
We talk to our kids about drugs and it just doesn't seem to have any impact. Why? They have the attitude that they won't get into a car accident if they drive fast, they won't get pregnant if they have sex, they won't get addicted if they use heroin.... This "invincible teen attitude" is part of normal brain development. Their brains or specifically the prefrontal cortex is not developed yet. So, that proves that our teenagers are acting without a brain or at least the front part. The brains front section is responsible for considering risks and it helps us stop doing something if it's too risky. Since, this part of the brain is still developing in teens some of the wiring is not intact...the stop/go wiring. This creates a serious problem for parents but yet also gives of a sense of why teens act the way they do.
Using drugs when we told them how dangerous they are...is not defiance, its not rebellion — its their brain! They do not comprehend the consequences of drug addiction at all!
So what are we as parents supposed to do to keep our children away from drugs — when they're operating without an fully functional brain? Researchers have been trying to find out why ...risk factors such as genetics, mental illness [anxiety, depression or mood illness], early use of drugs, social environment, and childhood trauma seem to be recognized as the main risk factors.
In hindsight, I can identify that "social anxiety" was the main factor in my daughters heroin addiction and it started in middle school. All I can say is listen to your kids....I mean really listen. If they say "I don't want to go to school"...find out why. Ask as many questions as you can to find out what's really bothering them-don't just shrug if off as I did and respond by saying, "schools hard, sometimes you have to do things you don't want to do." Some children don't know how to handle anxiety...and if you don't help them find ways to cope with their feelings then they find ways to cope on their own — and sometimes they find heroin.
So, listen to your kids because talking to them doesn't always work.