drug contract between parents and teenagers

Drug Contract Between Parents And Teenagers

More than anyone else, parents have the most influence on preventing substance abuse inside the family. Nowadays, kids in Los Angeles are becoming more adventurous, experimental, and resourceful. They tend to discover drugs and other illegal substances way earlier than other generations have. This is the reason why parents should do everything they can to deter their adolescents from teen drug addiction.
Many tools and processes have been developed to ensure the health of our youth. One of these tools is a drug contract between parents and teenagers, or writing a teen intervention letter. Talking to your children openly about the effects of drug addiction and your disapproval of it is an excellent way of reshaping your teen’s behaviors and attitude towards illicit substances. Being involved in your children’s daily life is a good way to redirect their path to sobriety. This article will discuss the importance of drug contracts between teenagers and parents, and how they can positively affect your child’s recovery from substance abuse.

What Are Drug Contracts?

Teen drug addiction recovery tends to start when someone else, usually a family member, intervenes in the situation. Drug addicts usually refuse treatment. Parents must act with care for their teen’s future since they are vulnerable, and their addiction will inevitably have severe consequences down the line. Creating a drug contract between you and your child will hold them accountable, and potentially help them stay away from drugs, alcohol, and other harmful and illegal substances. It is a solid way of implementing your rules and values inside and outside your home.
Drug-free contracts are written agreements between parents and children that clearly outline opinions and rules about drug use. This type of contract aims to lessen, deter, or monitor drug and alcohol abuse within the family. Usually, drug contracts contain regulations about incentives, punishments, and other instances for drugs.
For instance, you might include a reward for your teens when joining school activities and abstaining from drugs for a reasonable amount of time. This is a powerful handbook to guide your teen if he’s impulsive and not yet ready to make the right decisions.

What Should Be Included In A Teen Drug Contract?

Before writing the contract, you should be able to pinpoint the most significant matters. Formulating a list of rules comes with responsibility and due care. You want to avoid changing these rules often. Creating a contract and sticking to it for a long time is your goal. It would also be best if you considered the opinion of your teen. This contract should be a mutual and binding agreement between the two of you. Your teen may have helpful input to make the contract more amenable.
  • Rules — This is the foundation of your drug-free contract. You can list all the substances you want to prevent your child from using. What makes a drug contract flexible is that you can indicate whether, for example, you want to allow your teen to drink on exceptional special occasions a certain amount of alcohol with your supervision. While writing down every rule, you need to explain to your child the negative impacts of the substances on his health and well-being.
  • Reasons and Consequences — While writing down the reasons, you can initiate a 2-way conversation with your child. Asking for their opinions will help you know your child’s feelings toward drug abuse. The consequences should be simple. They might include community service, decreasing their daily allowance, deprivation from specific gadgets, and many others. These are essential things in young people’s lives, and having consequences that will affect them will make your child think twice before using harmful substances.
  • Signature — Of course, just like any other contract, a drug contract should contain your and your children’s signature. This will symbolize that all the parties involved agree with the contents of the contract.

How Should The Contract Be Delivered To Your Teen?

The most effective contract is one made together by the family. Before finalizing any part of the agreement, there should be a consensus to prevent possible misunderstandings. Also, if you have multiple children, then make no exceptions. The rules and consequences should apply to every kid, so no one gets jealous.
Be simple yet formal. Even though the law is not involved in this contract, doing it with diligence and formality will make your child more likely to respect it. Do not pressure your child into signing the contract, though. Ask them about their thoughts and how you can improve the contract together. Your teen shouldn’t feel oppressed by the rules. Let them have their freedom, but always be informed about their activities.

Why Does It Matter If You Use a Written or Oral Contract?

Written and oral drug contracts will be your teen’s guide while growing up. Did you know that one in four teens still think that prescription medications are good study aids? This says a lot about the prevalence of misinformation among our teens. Written and oral drug contracts are great tools to raise awareness about drug use
Our youth face several strong influences that urge them to use these substances for pleasure, not knowing it can ruin their lives forever. A family should collectively maintain sobriety to help influence not to use drugs by any means necessary. Proper drug education plays a vital role in this recurring issue. Many teens try harmful substances due to misinformation. They think that drugs are safe and won’t cause addiction because they don’t know any better.
Parents should be the catalysts for change. Starting education at home will protect your kids from misuse and common misconceptions. It will make them less curious and less likely to experiment with drugs if they know their effects.

When Is The Right Time To Have This Conversation With Your Teenager?

Ideally, before your children become out of your control, you should talk to your teen about drug contracts. The right time to bring up this conversation is when they reach 8th grade, and as early as the 6th grade. According to the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics or NCDAS, teenage substance abuse is prevalent during this stage. There has been a significant 61% increase in drug use from 2016 to 2020 among 8th graders. When they reach 12th grade, they are more likely to switch to alcohol and more harmful substances. In addition, almost 90% of these students use drugs, smoke, and drink alcohol during school hours.

Which Drugs And Alcohols Should Be Included In The Contract?

It’s best not to be picky. All illicit or harmful substances should be included in the contract. However, some families in California might be less rigid when it comes to alcohol and cigarettes. Some parents may allow their teens to use them in moderation. However, please keep in mind that these substances are still addictive, and preventing them from using them before they reach legal age would be the best move.

How to enforce your drug contract with your teen?

Every teen makes and will make mistakes. That’s a fact not a single parent can escape from. This is how young people learn to do better next time. When setting limits, you should keep your emotions in check. Remember that your child’s well-being is your main priority. Making empty threats due to uncontrolled emotions will lessen your credibility. Here are the things you should observe when enforcing the contract.
  • Always Keep Calm — This may sound simple, but it takes a lot of discipline. Once you know about a specific violation, be calm and collected. Enforce only the consequences that are agreed with. Avoid adding new clauses to become more objective.
  • Acknowledge Success — Both you and your child are trying to live a sober life. Your teen is doing their best to follow your rules. Aside from giving them the rewards listed in the contract, you can treat them to other things to make them feel good about their sobriety. Give them enough recognition when they deserve it.
  • Stay Involved — A contract without proper monitoring is not good enough. Although there might be rules, it is still up to your children whether to follow them or not. You wouldn’t want to learn that your child is addicted when the situation is already severe. Keep an eye on your teen’s friends and activities as much as you can. You can also use the same social media platforms your children use since they tend to communicate their feelings and activities.

How do you know when it's time to enlist the help of a therapist or other professional for your teen?

Admitting that your teen is into drugs is a difficult task. However, you should accept that there are things that you cannot control or solve. Drug addiction, for example, is a disease that affects the brain and other physical functions. Treating this condition requires the help of health professionals and the newest technologies available.

After doing your part trying to prevent addiction, you should take the next step: getting your teen into a rehab facility. If your teen exhibits signs of depression, self-harm, rebellion, drug use, poor school performance, absences, anti-social behavior, mood swings, and participation in illegal activities, then now is the time to seek help troubled teens. Since you are near Los Angeles, California, you should contact the Key Healthcare team. We offer Teen IOP, an outpatient program specifically designed for teens aged 14-17 to help them battle drug addiction and live a fully sober life. On the other hand, if your teen has already undergone primary treatment and still needs an aftercare program to prevent relapse, the Teen Sober Living program would best suit their needs.

Learn about our Los Angeles Teen Marijuana Treatment Program
Learn about our Los Angeles Teen Alcohol Treatment Program
Learn about our Los Angeles Teen Opioid Abuse Treatment Program
For a more severe case of teen drug addiction treatment, we recommend our Partial Hospitalization Program, which focuses on healing and drug education for 8 hours a day, five times a week. We are also an adolescent rehab that accepts insurance and accept most PPO insurance plans for the Teen PHP, Teen IOP, and Teen Sober Living programs. 
Contact us for a free and confidential consultation and more information!