Curbing Substance Abuse in Teens: The Importance of Keeping Your Kids Busy and How to Do It

As a parent, you want to do what you can to keep substance abuse out of your teen's mind. Having a discussion with them about the risks of substance use is your first step. Next, you need to keep your teen busy. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse says that teens who are bored are 50% more likely to engage in bad habits such as smoking, drinking, and drug use than their not-often-bored counterparts are. Here are four ways you can keep your teen busy.

Make Them Get a Job

Whether it is a summer job or a job for after school and on the weekends, making your teen get a job can do wonders for them. Not only will it help them stay away from drugs and alcohol, but it will also give them a place to make new friends and gain a sense of self-worth and confidence. It also teaches them responsibility, which can help them as they grow into young adults.

Have Them Volunteer

If you take the time to look around your community, you'll find that there is probably someone or some organization that needs some help. A good place to start is local animal shelters and food banks. These places are always looking for new volunteers. Other places include national parks, the Red Cross, Habitat for Humanity, and even the community garden or park. This volunteering experience can be rewarding for you teen and teach them that it is always good to give others a helping hand when you can. Volunteer Match is an excellent online source that can help you find volunteer opportunities across the country.

Get Them to Participate in Extracurricular Activities

During the summer, your teen can go to church camp, basketball camp, ecology camp, or some other type of camp. During the school year, your teen can participate in after-school clubs such as yearbook or become part of one of the sports team. This is a great way to get your teen socializing with other teens while also boosting their confidence and self-esteem. Probably more importantly, your teen will have fun being free from drugs and alcohol.

Focus on Family Time

It is absolutely crucial that you focus on family time. This can be done through a family vacation, a shopping trip, or something else entirely. As long as you're spending time as a family in a positive way, you are strengthening the bond you have with your teen and potentially keeping them away from drugs and alcohol. Don't forget to sit down for dinner every night as a family to discuss the day, as this is an easy way to get some family time in each day.

Overall, all four of these things will help keep your teen busy and keep their mind off of drugs and alcohol. When teens engage in substance abuse, it opens them up to the possibility of addiction. Make sure to have ongoing conversations with your teen about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. For more advice, reach out to alcohol and drug treatment centers for help.