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Parent and Family Information

Parents: The Anti-Drug

The teen years are fraught with stressful events and situations — from school to finances to peer pressure. Without having learned proper coping mechanisms, many teens will find their own ways to deal with stress, sometimes taking risky behaviors. It is very important for parents and teens to maintain their trust and build communication with each other. Parents must listen to their teens, and let them know they believe in them and their abilities to make healthy decisions. It is important for parents to notice signs of stress, voice their concerns, and be a source of help, when necessary.

Teens don't come with instructions. They are more complicated and under different pressures than 20 years ago. The pressure to fit in, and to be perfect, sexually active, and successful are only a few things that could be on your child's mind. Parents should support teens in developing their own solutions as well as positive coping strategies, and the ability to anticipate and avoid future stressors. Parents can help teens build self-confidence, organizational skills, and a sense of balance in life; guide them in nurturing their own physical and emotional health; and encourage involvement in positive as well as relaxing activities, such as athletics, meditation, art and music, or volunteer work. Parents are still a teen’s greatest influence, so what you say and do matters.

Visit the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to learn more.

Tips for Family Education

Talking about drugs with your children is not easy. If you come across as too cool about it, you'll raise questions about your own drug use, and you'll have to find a way to deal with them. If you come across as too naive about the subject, you are going to have problems with credibility: Your child may well wonder what you could possibly know about it, if you've never had a drink or seen a drug other than aspirin in your life.

The best thing you can do is just be a parent. Speak openly about your concerns. If you can find a book about drugs and your child will cooperate, look at it together. If your child complains that he already knows everything there is to know, tell him you need to have this discussion for your peace of mind.

How Do I Know if My Student is in Distress?

During your student's time at Drexel, he or she may be challenged by new academic, personal or social stressors. While most students will be able to manage these challenges, some will find that they are too difficult and overwhelming to handle.

Your role as a parent is also a challenging one. While your student might be away from home, you may still be the first person to notice a change in your child's behavior, mood or attitude. He or she may express a variety of emotions, including feeling afraid, socially isolated, vulnerable, depressed or anxious. Academic performance may decline, and you may notice an increase in disruptive behaviors or alcohol/drug use. In rare cases, your student may even have suicidal thoughts, or make a suicide attempt. If you become aware of these changes, talking with him or her about your concerns can make a difference in saving your student's academic career, not to mention his or her life. Directing your student to the Counseling Center should be an important part of your discussion.

Warning Signs of Substance Abuse

If you think a student might have a substance abuse problem, intervening can be very important for his or her health. There are some signs and symptoms that may indicate the presence of a problem, or that someone is at risk of having a problem with drugs or alcohol:

  • You have heard reports or seen the student drinking excessively.
  • The student has been involved in disciplinary actions as a result of alcohol or drug intoxication.
  • The student's grades have suffered because of excess substance use.
  • The student has been involved in accidents in which alcohol is involved.
  • The student misses classes or appointments because s/he is hung over.
  • The student is having difficulties in relationships with peers because of his or her excessive use of alcohol or drugs.
  • The student has been involved in sexual activity he or she later regrets.
  • The student has had erratic emotional outbursts.
  • The student has blackouts.
  • The student is unable to modify his or her drinking or drug use.
  • The student has experienced weight loss, medical difficulties, or is exhibiting poor hygiene.

If you have concerns that your student may be experiencing these problems, you may contact the Counseling Center at 215.895.1415 and request to speak with a counselor.