13-15 Year Olds

What types of drugs can the world of a 13-15 year old include?

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Tobacco, Alcohol, prescription drugs such as Ritalin or Adderall, Inhalants, and illicit drugs such as Marijuana, Ecstasy, Herbal Ecstasy, Cocaine/Crack, GHB, Heroin, Rohypnol, Ketamine, LSD, Mushrooms  

What to say to 13-15 year olds

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Conversations are one of the most powerful tools parents can use to connect with — and protect — their kids. But, when tackling some of life’s tougher topics, especially those about drugs and alcohol, just figuring out what to say can be a challenge. The following scripts will help you get conversations going with your high-school child. 


Scenario Your teen is starting high school — and you want to remind him that he doesn’t have to give in to peer pressure to drink or use drugs. 


What to Say You must be so excited about starting high school. It’s going to be a ton of fun, and we want you to have a great time. But we also know there’s going to be some pressure to start drinking, abusing medicine, smoking pot or taking other drugs. A lot of people feel like this is just what high-school kids do. But, it’s not what you have to do. Not all high school kids drink or use drugs. Many don’t, which means it won’t make you weird to choose not to drink or use drugs, either. You can still have a lot of fun if you don’t drink or use drugs. It is important to seek out these other kids who are making good choices, and be brave about trying new activities or making new friends. You’ll have a lot of decisions to make about what you want to do in high school and you might even make some mistakes. Just know that you can talk to us about anything, anytime — even if you DO make a mistake or feel stuck in a situation that you need help to get out of. We won’t freak out. We’ll figure out a way to help you. We want you to count on us to help you make smart decisions and stay safe, okay? 


Scenario Every time you ask your teen how his day was, you get a mumbled “Whatever, it was okay” in return. 


What to Say Skip asking general questions like, “How’s school?” or questions that only need a yes/no answer. Instead, ask more specific questions on topics that interest both you and your teen (“Tell me about the pep rally yesterday.” “Who did you have lunch with today?” “Fill me in on your Chemistry lab test.”) You can also use humor and even some gentle sarcasm, to get the conversation flowing by making your child laugh and start opening up a bit. To show your teen that you want to know what it’s like in his or high school, try this with an exaggerated playful and light tone, “I’m thinking of calling the principal for permission to record a reality-show of your high school so I could see what it’s really like for you every day.” It can also be helpful to share a brief anecdote revealing something about your day to model opening up, and let your teen experience how it feels good to connect. 


Scenario Your teen has started to hang out with kids you don’t know — and dropped his old friends. 


What to Say It seems like you are hanging with a different crowd than you have in the past. Is something going on with your usual friends? Is there a problem with [old friends’ names] or are you just branching out and meeting some new kids? Tell me about your new friends. What are they like? What do they like to do? What do you like about them? 


Scenario Your high schooler comes home smelling of alcohol or cigarette smoke for the first time. 


What to Say “The response should be measured, quiet and serious — not yelling, shouting or overly emotional,” says parenting expert and author Marybeth Hicks. “Your child should realize that this isn’t just a frustrating moment like when he doesn’t do a chore you asked for; it’s very big, very important  and very serious.” Say, “I’m really upset that you’re smoking/drinking. I need to get a handle on how often this has been happening and what your experiences have been so far. I get that you’re worried about being in trouble, but the worst part of that moment is over — I know that you’re experimenting. I love you and care about you. Your health and well-being are very important to me. Let’s talk about this. I need you to be honest with me. So for starters, tell me about what happened tonight…”     


This information is taken from the Partnership for Drug Free Kids-Parent Toolkit: http://www.drugfree.org/the-parent-toolkit/age-by-age-advice/13-15-year-old-what-to-say/   


We’re here to help: Our Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) is a nationwide support service that offers assistance to parents who want to talk to someone about their child’s drug use and drinking.  

Tips for talking to a 13-15 Year Old

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For parents, this is a pivotal time in helping kids make positive choices when faced with drugs and alcohol. The average age kids try drugs for the first time is 13. If your child is 13, says Amelia Arria, senior scientist with Treatment Research Institute, you should assume that he or she has been offered drugs or alcohol. But you can help your teen stay healthy and drug-free — and beat the negative statistics about drug use among teens. Kids who learn about the risks of drugs from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to use (2011 Partnership Attitude Tracking Study). So, most importantly, stay involved. Young teens may say they don't need your guidance, but they're much more open to it than they'll ever let on. Make sure you talk to them about their choices of friends — drug use in teens starts as a social behavior. Here are 5 tips to help you guide your teen toward a healthy, drug-free life:  


  1. Make sure your teen knows your rules and the consequences for breaking those rules — and, most importantly, that you really will enforce those consequences if the rules are broken.   This applies to no-use rules about tobacco, alcohol and other drugs, as well as curfews and homework. Research shows that kids are less likely to use tobacco, alcohol and other drugs if their parents have established a pattern of setting clear rules and consequences for breaking those rules.  [Guo, Hawkins, Hill, and Abbott (2001)] And kids who are not regularly monitored by their parents are four times more likely to use drugs (Metzler, Rusby & Biglan, 1999).
  2. Let your teen in on all the things you find wonderful about him. He needs to hear a lot of positive comments about his life and who he is as an individual — and not      just when he makes the basketball team. Positive reinforcement can go a long way in preventing drug use among teens.
  3. Show interest — and discuss — your child's daily ups and downs. You'll earn your child's trust, learn how to talk to each other, and won't take your child by surprise when you voice a strong point of view about drugs.
  4. Tell your teen about the negative effect alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs have on physical appearance. Teens are extremely concerned with their physical appearance. Tell them about a time you saw a friend or acquaintance get sick from alcohol — reinforce how completely disgusting it was.
  5. Don't just leave your child's anti-drug education up to her school. Ask your teen what she's learned about drugs in school and then continue with that topic or introduce new topics. A few to consider: the long-term effects that tobacco, alcohol, and other drugs have on the human body; how and why chemical dependence occurs — including the unpredictable nature of  dependency and how it varies from person to person; the impact of drug use on society — societal costs of impaired health and loss of productivity; maintaining a healthy lifestyle; positive approaches to stress reduction; or setting realistic short- and long-term goals.

This information is taken from the Partnership for Drug Free Kids-Parent Toolkit: http://www.drugfree.org/the-parent-toolkit/age-by-age-advice/13-15-year-old-tips/   


We’re here to help: Our Parents Toll-Free Helpline 1-855-DRUGFREE (1-855-378-4373) is a nationwide support service that offers assistance to parents who want to talk to someone about their child’s drug use and drinking.