Does your teen have a drug or alcohol problem—or is he at risk for developing one? If so, you don’t have to go it alone. If you’re concerned about your child, explore the resources below. You can also refer to these tips for reducing risky behaviors.
National Dropout Prevention Center Network: This clearinghouse on issues related to dropout prevention can give you an idea on how to talk to your teen about staying in school. You’ll also find statistics on what happens to teens who don’t graduate from high school.
Crisis Text Line: The Crisis Text Line offers support for teens 24/7. All they have to do is text the word listen to 741-741. If your teen is struggling but isn’t ready to talk to you, this may be a good place for him to turn. The site also has links to additional resources on topics such as depression and suicide; dating abuse and domestic violence; support for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) youth; and more.
Your Defiant Teen: 10 Steps to Resolve Conflict and Rebuild Your Relationship, by Russell A. Barkley, Ph.D., and Arthur L. Robin, Ph.D.: This book by two experts on ADHD can help parents and troubled teens find ways to communicate. It features 10 steps you can follow to problem-solve and set up a positive relationship with your teen. The updated second edition also includes new research on why some teens have more problems with self-control than others.
Your local school district: There may be other resources in your own community. To find out, contact your school district and ask for resources specific to what you’re concerned about, such as drug or alcohol abuse, teen sex, or dropping out of school. Schools often have programs and staff to address teens’ social and emotional issues. The school nurse and guidance counselor are both good resources.
Your child’s doctor: Kids who take medication for their ADHD are less likely to engage in risky behaviors. This may be because the medications help with impulse control. Or it could be because kids taking effective medications for ADHD are less likely to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Your child’s doctor can make sure your teen is prescribed the most effective medication for him. If you’re concerned about substance abuse or about mental health issues like depression or anxiety, the doctor can help with that or refer you to a specialist. She can also work with your teen on matters surrounding reproductive health.
If your teen is at risk for harmful behaviors, such as drug or alcohol abuse, trouble with the law, or unprotected sex, these resources can help. You might also want to connect with other parents in your community. Together you can trade tips and experiences that make a difference in your teen’s life.