“I’m bored!” This is one line that parents often hear from their teenagers. Though it is normal to get bored at times, in teenagers, one cannot sweep boredom under the rug for it is linked with substance use disorders (SUD). Puberty and gonadal hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can lead to anxiety, restlessness and boredom.
In a past study, more than a fourth of the total study population of 22,000 teenagers stated that they were bored in school. One of the consequences of being bored is that it can lead to imprudent and impulsive actions like trying alcohol and other addictive substances. And once a teen discovers that their boredom can be dealt with using these substances, they might fall prey to frequent and ultimately prolonged use, leading to addiction. Thus, parents need to be watchful of their bored teens and help them navigate through the phase, creatively and safely.
Listed below are some of the steps that can be taken to engage a bored teen and lure him/her away from substance use:
- Lead by example – Parents can lead by their own example. A parent must never drink alcohol or consume any addictive substance in front of their teens. Moreover, if the family has gone out and a parent wants to drink, he or she must indulge in responsible drinking.
- Encourage open lines of communication – Often teens veer towards addictive substances when they are stressed out and are not able to cope with their situation. It is important to make them realize that stress is an inevitable part of life and that there are healthy ways, like practicing yoga, meditation and mindful techniques, to cope with it. They must get a chance to talk about and discuss their problems with their parents and in return, not be judged.
- Get them involved – Anyone can get bored and it is important that when one is bored, energy is diverted towards constructive activities. A teen should be encouraged to get involved in chores at home or to engage in outdoor activities like soccer, horse riding, trekking, etc.
- Talking early about perils of alcohol and substances – These days, teens have an information overload due to excessive exposure to social media. Hence, it is irrelevant to wait for the right time to tell them about substance abuse. They must be introduced to the concept of substance abuse at an early age. They should be told how alcohol and drugs can debilitate every area of their lives. Further, teens should also be told how parents would deal with them if they were caught abusing anything.
- Monitor prescriptions – If a teenager is on prescription medication, it is important to keep a track of his or her consumption and how frequently the prescription is being filled.
Dealing with substance abuse
It is never too late to foster a healthy relationship with your teenager, where he or she feels loved and cared for. This would, in turn, encourage them to take serious ownership of their actions, including substance use. For a parent, it can be heartbreaking to see their child in the throes of addiction; however, they must strive to institute an intervention at the earliest, to safeguard their child from the harmful physical as well as psychological effects of addictive substances like drugs, alcohol and opioids.
If you or your loved one is battling an addiction to drugs or alcohol and is looking for a reliable detox center in Florida, connect with the Florida Detox Helpline. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 855-920-9869 or chat online with one of our trained representative to seek further guidance about Florida drug detox centers near you.