As a parent or family member, it’s hard to know what our teens are going through. Boys experience learning and development quite differently from girls, with this distinction making it ever more challenging to get inside their mind and discover what type of support is needed. At this age, boys are highly susceptible to abusing substances. Even at this stage in their life, what is seemingly harmless “teen angst” could develop into a full-blown addiction later on. Kristine Marceau, assistant professor in human development and family studies at Purdue University, stated in a 2018 article published by Science Daily,
“The earlier your first sip of alcohol or that you try other kinds of drugs, the more likely you are to go on to develop lifelong addiction and problems with substance abuse.”
Of course, we can tell our teen just how harmful substances are, but what are they truly thinking about substances? In knowing this information, we may be able to address some of the thoughts they are having without even needing them to tell us. A 2018 study published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health conducted interviews with 16 boys aged 16-17 years old. These particular researchers aimed to understand the rationalizations that these boys made for smoking and their beliefs about their health, but it’s likely that these rationalizations could be applied to other substances as well. Here were some of their responses:
- Teen boys do not view the immediate consequences as significant and believe that any consequences can be compensated for. They also believe that the benefits outweigh the consequences of using.
- Many teen boys expressed their expectation to only smoke during adolescence, with the belief that they will have the rest of their lives to recover from any damages caused by smoking early on.
- Participants reported feeling much control over their use and, therefore, over their chances of becoming addicted to substances.
Teens need more specialized support because of the thought processes they experience. If you’re ready to help your teen begin their journey to recovery, speak with a professional from a Cumberland Heights today.
Adolescent Recovery of Cumberland Heights (ARCH) originally began in 1985 when there were few other adolescent programs like it in the country. In 2019, we’re expanding our continuum of services with ARCH Academy, a unique program that offers 60 days to 6 months of residential care to adolescent boys ages 14-18 who are struggling with alcohol and/or drug addiction. This new program stems from Cumberland Heights, which has been around since 1966 and is located in Kingston Springs, Tennessee. The adolescent age is a critical time for development, making this a crucial time of positive influence. For more information, call us today at 1-800-646-9998.