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How can I stop my daughter from using drugs or alcohol to cope with stress?

Charles J. Sophy, MD
Adolescent Medicine

Be a good model of restraint. Teens get their views about alcohol from watching your behavior and listening to your comments. This research also is a warning that we not glamorize alcohol or say we’re using pills or alcohol as a way to unwind, “I sure could use a drink!” The research shows that teen girls in particular are getting high as a way to cope.

Dispel the “quick fix” myth. The increase use of prescription drugs as well as cold medications amongst teens is also a growing and serious problem. Those TV commercials can give kids a very wrong impression: “The quick fix to any problem is a pill.” This causes our young people to see drugs as an answer.” Instead, we must help our kids grow strong from the inside-out. Boost authentic self-esteem. Get her involved in healthy activities.

Reduce stress and teach coping strategies. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) found that stress is the main reason teen girls are using drugs. Girls also related that they are using drugs as a way to cope with problems at home (this confirms research from varying sources showing teen stress is mounting as well as teen depression). Keep a lid on the stress at home. Teach coping strategies and stress reducers to your teen such as yoga, deep breathing, and stress management techniques.



Here are some suggestions that may help:

  • Have family dinner together.
  • Set up a scheduled meeting to talk at least once a week.
  • Seek out a counselor that she can visit with to learn how to deal with stress in a more positive way.
  • Get to know her friends well.
  • Go on a family vacation together. 
  • Driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol is a liability and against the law; if necessary restrict driving.

There is no easy answer that works all the time. Hopefully, some of these suggestions help.

Michele Borba
Psychology
Parenting Solutions to Turn a Troubling Youth Trend Around and Stop Daughters from Drinking and Drugs to Cope with Stress:

• Get savvy. Forget the “Not my daughter!” attitude. Teen drinking and substance abuse is a growing problem that we simply can’t ignore. Kids are taking their first drink at younger ages. Drinking amongst the girl scene is also increasing.

• Be a good model of restraint. Teens get their views about alcohol from watching your behavior and listening to your comments. This research also is a warning that we not glamorize alcohol or say we’re using pills or alcohol as a way to unwind, “I sure could use a drink!”  The research shows that teen girls in particular are getting high as a way to cope.

• Dispel the “quick fix” myth. The increase use of prescription drugs as well as cold medications amongst teens is also a growing and serious problem. Those TV commercials can give kids a very wrong impression: “The quick fix to any problem is a pill.”  This causes our young people to see drugs as an answer.” Instead, we must help our kids grow strong from the inside-out. Boost authentic self-esteem. Get her involved in healthy activities.

• Reduce stress and teach coping strategies. The 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) found that stress is the main reason teen girls are using drugs. Girls also related that they are using drugs as a way to cope with problems at home (this confirms research from varying sources showing teen stress is mounting as well as teen depression). Keep a lid on the stress at home.  Teach coping strategies and stress reducers to your teen such as yoga, deep breathing, and stress management techniques.
The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

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The Big Book of Parenting Solutions: 101 Answers to Your Everyday Challenges and Wildest Worries

Today show's Michele Borba's cures for difficult childhood behaviors In this down-to-earth guide, parenting expert Michele Borba offers advice for dealing with children's difficult behavior and hot...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.