Drugs and Alcohol
If your child or adolescent has a problem with alcohol or other drugs, there will most likely be warning signs: withdrawal or hostility, apathy or mood changes, problems with schoolwork, sleep difficulties, loss of appetite or carelessness in grooming, to name just a few. For more information on the warning signs of alcohol or drug use, see Teens, Alcohol and Other Drugs.
Teen Sexuality and Pregnancy
Helping your adolescent or teen make positive decisions regarding sexuality means having honest and open discussions about the responsibilities and the risks. The following guidelines can help you prepare your teen to be responsible:
- Start the conversation about sexuality early, before your child reaches adolescence.
- Communicate your values and beliefs about teen sexuality.
- Set standards and expectations for how you want your child to behave.
- Pay attention to what your teen is doing, and monitor her whereabouts.
- Know the movies your teen is watching, the books she’s reading and the music she’s listening to.
- Don’t allow your teen to date someone significantly older.
- Encourage your teen to plan a future that’s more appealing than early parenthood.
- Stress the value you place on education.
Young people who have had long-standing problems such as depression, alcohol or drug abuse are at risk for suicide. Often there are warning signs – such as depression, withdrawal, rage, running away, substance abuse – although these do not always mean that a teen is considering suicide. It’s vitally important that you get help immediately from a health professional if you think your teen is suicidal. The national suicide hotlines are: