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Sex, Drugs and Teens

Teen couple on a date

When children grow up, they don't always make healthy, wise choices. In fact, peer pressure and the desire to fit in, find friends and have meaning in life can lead teenagers down paths that are detrimental to their future and well-being. If you're dealing with a teen who's become involved in drugs, drinking and/or sexual activity, then you need to let him/her know you are not going to ‚Äčlet them continue these behaviors and that you are willing and able to ‚Äčtake action.

This information is included in our Substance Abuse Guide. Click here to see the rest of the guide.

Make a Plan to Address Problem Behavior

Developing a plan is the best place to start in addressing your teenager's unhealthy behavior. These six parenting tips can help you put that plan in place:

  1. Write down your expectations.
  2. Write down the negative consequences your teenager will earn if he/she doesn't meet your expectations, as well as the positive consequences they will earn if they do.
  3. Discuss what you've written with your teen and ask if he/she has any questions.
  4. Stick to your expectations and consequences no matter what.
  5. Praise your teenager when he/she displays positive behaviors. Be specific.
  6. Let your teen earn back privileges as he/she makes good choices.

In terms of specific behaviors, call the police and report your teenager as a runaway if he/she leaves home without permission. Do this immediately every time your child leaves the house without your permission.

If you suspect your teenager is drinking or using drugs, ask your doctor's office to do a drug screen, or call a local drug and alcohol rehabilitation center and ask for an alcohol and drug assessment for your teen.