As the last week of National Recovery Month has arrived, we’d like to share some resources designed for families. Most types of mental illness and addictive disease begins in late adolescence or young adulthood, so families are encouraged to start early in promoting resilience, identifying warning signs, and providing needed supports.
SAMHSA has created a website, Building Blocks for a Healthy Future, that provides tips for families on helping their children make healthier decisions. SAMHSA has also established a Too Smart to Start website, focusing on prevention of underage alcohol use. We encourage families with children or teens to check out both of these sites.
SAMHSA also offers practical tips on how to communicate more effectively with your teen. Believe it or not, research has shown that adolescents are less likely to use alcohol or other drugs if they understand that their parents don’t approve. So it’s important to get your kids’ attention and communicate effectively.
Here are a few communication tips:
Be a good listener and encourage young people to open up and share.
Respect teens’ privacy, as they may be more inviting if their need for space is respected.
Give teens more freedom or autonomy, as this will help build trust.
Accept teens’ feelings, without being judgmental.
Don’t be afraid to apologize when you are in the wrong.
It’s never to early to start teaching your children about healthy living, and it’s never too late to begin the conversation.