Destinations for Teens talks about how to talk to your teens about substance abuse

Andrew Levander with Destinations for Teens visited 13 Action News to talk about substance abuse and teens.

Here are some warning signs if your child is using:

  • heightened secrecy
  • fishy-sounding excuses or outright lying
  • difficulty thinking or keeping focus
  • withdrawing from classroom participation
  • resistance to discipline or feedback
  • increased tardiness or absence
  • paranoia, irritability, anxiety, fidgeting
  • changes in mood or attitude
  • significant weight loss or gain
  • · loss of interest in hobbies or activities
  • · decline in school performance
  • · abandonment of long-time peer group.

Advice for parents if they catch their children experimenting:

  • 1. Ideally the conversations about expectations related to safety and making good choices happens early and frequently.
  • 2. Using positive reinforcement when kids make the right choice is much more effective than negative reinforcement which is punishment.
  • 3. Showing appreciation to our children for making good choices is essential to healthy self-esteem, as we all feel good when our efforts are noticed.
  • 4. There are signs to look for that would make closer examinations of our children and their rooms appropriate.
  • 5. Communicating the risks of substance abuse with children reduces the likelihood of substance use by half.
  • 6. Being genuinely interested in teens' lives and their relationships is a powerful protective factor.

Destinations for Teens provides personalized teen treatment that supports the entire family throughout the journey to recovery, saving lives by helping teens achieve sustainable well-being, providing access to comprehensive educational services, and creating a support system. Destinations for Teens helps families at its Henderson treatment center and in California.   

Visit or call 702-605-9997.

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