Peer pressure, curiosity, self-medication … these are just a few of many reasons some teenagers experiment with drugs and alcohol.
In this week’s Raising North Dakota, Alysia Huck share some wise words from three young adults who were able to “Just Say No” throughout their adolescent years.
Many teens succumb to peer pressure when it comes to trying drugs and alcohol, but how and why do some resist and say no?
For Silas Jackson, it was in large part due to his parents encouraging high moral standards, and teaching him to think for himself.
Jackson explains, “They wanted me to behave well, but they didn’t want to be the reason I behaved well … they wanted me to have my own reasons and think for myself and allow me to make own decisions why giving the best info they could about the possible effects could be.”
Positive influence from his parents was a big factor for Jorden Upgren as well, and a constant, open line of communication was key.
“Having that trust and that direct wire to parents and kids is essential for them to abstain from alcohol, drugs, and other substance,” says Upgren. “And being on good terms with that, communicating effectively.
Often, teens will try things to fit in and be accepted, seeking attention, but Molly Clark decided drugs and alcohol were bound to bring a negative attention.
Clark shares, “I never wanted to be in a big group and the center of attention and I knew if I did drink then people would be like ‘oh my Gosh Molly’s drinking!’ and just make a big deal out of it and I just didn’t want that.”
Surrounding themselves with good friends with similar beliefs was also key for these young adults.
“As a group we were offered to go to parties where we knew there would be alcohol, but we would act as a counsel,” says Upgren. “Pretty much collective thing where we didn’t want to do that. We would rather just be ourselves, not try to conform to who society wants us to be and have fun our way and not other people’s way.,”
And it’s important to teach our kids foresight and to have open conversations about the consequences of drinking and drugs.
It’s easy to think “that won’t be me,” but having the discussion in a positive, productive fashion may lead them to pause and think first.
Jackson shares, “In most cases when I’ve been offered a drink, I’m allowed to sit back a moment, and look ahead and ask myself, ‘what are the potential ramifications of this, the possible negative impact?’ And in most cases almost all it’s far outweighed the potential fun I might have had, so a DUI, hurting yourself or getting into an accident and hurting somebody else?”
And teaching our kids that there is so much more to life that it’s simply not worth the risk.
Clark says, “I don’t need alcohol to have fun, I have a good time with friends anyways.”
Another common deterent for Silas, Jordan and Molly was staying busy with sports or other extracurricular activities.