If your teenager is misusing drugs or alcohol, you may not have realized it until things have already gone pretty far. Teens can be secretive. Plus, their peers have great influence over their actions. Combined with their tendency to underestimate the dangers of experimentation, these factors put them at risk for drug and alcohol-related consequences. When parents are worried, they often ask, “How do I talk to my teenager about my concerns?” You may be so worried that you are looking at a teen rehab center or considering residential addiction treatment. You want to partner with your teen, not alienate them. How do you start the conversation?
If you hope to engage your adolescent in an open and honest dialogue about addiction and want some guidance, you can reach out to Pennsylvania Adult & Teen Challenge (PAATC). We have 60 years of experience with teens who struggle with substance use disorders. We understand that the way to approach a teenager is not the same as the way we’d address similar issues with adults. Let us guide you so that you maintain trust and closeness with your teen as you broach the subject of a teen addiction treatment center. You can call us at 844.442.8673 or fill out our online form. Our teen rehab center near Lancaster, PA, is an ideal place to start your search.
Why Teen Addiction Therapy?
As a parent, your primary goal is to protect and care for your child. That means that when there is a problem that you can’t fix on your own, you seek out specialists who will provide the best care possible. That includes orthodontists, tutors, dermatologists, and others who are experts in their fields. Addiction therapy is, like other specialties, approached differently for teenagers than it is for adults.
Drug rehab centers that offer teen-specific rehab services understand this particular stage of development. At PAATC, our clinicians and other staff who work with teens know how to get buy-in and engagement from this most discerning and often wary group. From medically supervised treatment through therapies, group support, and programs geared specifically to nurturing and building confidence in young people, teen addiction therapy is your best bet.
Talking to Your Teen about Teen Addiction Treatment
Keeping your teen in the conversation is key. If the talk sounds more like a lecture or comes across as confrontational, you may lose them. You can follow some strategies in preparing for this very important dialogue.
- Find out as much as you can about the substance you believe is the issue, as well as data about recovery options and possible outcomes.
- Be thoughtful about when and where you will initiate the conversation – a time that is not rushed in a private place.
- Don’t assume you know everything. An open mind and heart will get you further than judgment or blanket statements.
- Be honest and vulnerable by explaining what you’ve seen, how it makes you feel, why it’s worrisome, and that you are concerned because you love them.
- Avoid any language that implies or evokes shame or guilt.
- Encourage them to talk more than you do and, when they do, listen carefully, without judgment. Kids are very sensitive to what they perceive as parental disapproval or cluelessness, so an expression of warm neutrality is the goal.
- Ask straightforward, honest questions, and then – again – listen.
- When you speak, modulate your voice. Even though you may feel upset, and even if they seem not to be listening, a raised voice will not help.
- Let them know they have your complete support to help them stop using, whatever that looks like. Ask what kind of support they think they want.
- Be prepared with good information about rehab treatment options.
If they become agitated or start to shut down, end the conversation, for now, promising to return to it soon. Your patience will help your teen feel less anxious. However, do not end the conversation abruptly or walk out. End it with a wrap-up and plans for action steps, further conversation, or both.
There are no guarantees. You may have this conversation, and nothing will seem to change. Don’t give up on open dialogue, as it is your best chance of getting buy-in for treatment. Keep the doors open and, no matter how resentful, withdrawn, angry, or absent your teen appears to be, remain present, compassionate, loving, and open-minded. And get yourself the help you need. Seeing your therapist and talking to trusted loved ones will help you so you can help your teen.
Learn More at Pennsylvania Adult and Teen Challenge
A positive outcome of your conversations with your teen would be to schedule a visit to PAATC so one of our staff who works with teens can have an honest conversation with your child about how teen addiction treatment works and why a teen rehab center is a very positive next step. Let us know how we can help. Reach us by online form or phone at 844.442.8673. We are here to support your teen on this journey toward recovery.