With time comes experience. Though adults are in no way perfect, they are generally at least aware of the dangers and consequences that can stem from heavy alcohol use or drug abuse. As a young person, much less experience is present; and with lack of experience comes the desire and curiosity for finding out what they don’t know.
Not only is drug use something a young person might be considering internally, but there might also be external factors that can nudge it along. So what are these external factors? These can range from things like drug use in friends to family income or academic success. How can peer pressure contribute to drug use?
In general, peer pressure does not necessarily have to be a bad thing. Even as adults, our peers influence us, and it’s always possible for us to be influenced in a positive way by our peers. In comparison to adults, teens do not yet have the decision-making skills necessary to resist impulse and avoid immediate reward, taking the time to assess the potential risks. Teens can be quick to act, without fully considering the consequences of their actions.
As adolescents grow into their teen years, they begin to spend more and more time with their peers – sometimes even more than with their parents or siblings. Teens can both positively and negatively influence their friends. Research shows that teens may find it more difficult to control risky behaviors when their friends are around. Often times teens can feel the need to impress others just so they feel they fit in.
As a parent of a teen becoming more independent with each passing day, it’s important to stay connected and recognize the signs and symptoms of potential drug use. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) lists some of the common signs of drug use seen in teens:
Though you may be spending less time around your teens as they become more independent, you can still have a positive influence in their life. Help them stay motivated to achieve their goals and chase after their own interests. Sports teams, volunteer groups or after school programs can all aid in keeping teens on the right track.
According to The Law Office of Jason A. Volet, drug crimes can have severe and long-lasting effects on your life. Make sure your teen fully understands the harsh reality of what being convicted of a drug crime can do. Stay open, honest and communicative with your teen as they grow toward adulthood.