Adolescent Rehab Center CEO Releases Guidelines: How to Speak With Teens About Substance Abuse

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CEO of New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center and teen addiction expert gives tips on how parents can start difficult conversations about drugs and alcohol with teens.

Johnny Patout, CEO of New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center, releases guide on how to speak with teens about substance abuse.

Johnny Patout, CEO of New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center, releases guide on how to speak with teens about substance abuse.

Teens need to feel that they are able to openly share their questions and general feelings about anything in life, including drugs and alcohol.

Johnny Patout, CEO of New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center, one of the leading award-winning substance abuse programs in the country, today issued tips to help parents navigate the often difficult conversations about drug use and abuse with teens.

A recent report by Medical Daily revealed that teenagers are less likely to abuse drugs or alcohol if they believe that their parents would strongly disapprove. However, according to the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, only 9.1 percent of parents are communicating with their teens about the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. Despite the obvious benefit, parents are not addressing these problems because they simply do not know where to begin.

To help address this parenting challenge, Patout has outlined the following tips:

1. Build trust. “Trust is a key factor in effective communication,” said Patout. “It works both ways. Teens need to feel that they are able to openly share their questions and general feelings about anything in life, including drugs and alcohol. Instead of trying to force communication, build trust over time, piece by piece. Start with a few conversations about lighter subjects and work up to heavier material.”

2. Ask open-ended questions. “Teenagers may already be on guard during conversations with parents,” said Patout. “Teens often anticipate pointed questions. An open-ended question such as ‘how was your day?’ or ‘how are you?’ gives the teen the option to choose what to share.”

3. Share experiences carefully. “Parents need to choose words carefully,” said Patout. “Share applicable anecdotes from real life. Parents have the benefit of having more years of experience. Real life examples of highs and lows can be useful for a teen, but don’t rely on scare tactics to manipulate a child.”

4. Be honest. “Adolescents demand honesty, even if they choose to be dishonest,” said Patout. “Parents must model the honesty that they want from their children. Don’t sugarcoat a situation or hide behind technical language when discussing drugs or alcohol. Avoid stating opinions as facts. Instead, simply open up the dialogue by sharing a perspective and let the teen respond.”

5. Stay calm. “For parents planning to approach a child about possible drug abuse, avoid panicking,” said Patout. “Start by making note of the warning signs the child is exhibiting and research the drug or drugs the teen might be abusing. Then, talk to a medical professional or addiction specialist to gain additional insight and plan the necessary steps for approaching the teen.”

To download the full guide, visit https://ee110.infusionsoft.com/app/form/drug-abuse-faq.

About New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center

New Beginnings Adolescent Recovery Center, the leading teen drug rehabilitation program in the Southwest and one recognized nationwide, has been helping teens overcome addiction for more than 30 years. New Beginnings offers a continuum of care for inpatient treatment, residential treatment, partial hospitalization and outpatient programs, and works with private insurance providers to find the lowest costs for their patients. For more information, visit http://www.newbeginningsteenhelp.com.

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Kelsey Lloyd
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