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Understanding Addiction: A Guide for Parents, Part 2


See: Part 1  Part 3


Youth face complex challenges. Understanding addiction at this age is critical for parents so they can support their youth in the ways they are needed. For parents and educators, it's essential to recognize the underlying factors that drive young individuals onto the path of addiction.


Starting Points
Adolescents may start experimenting with addictive substances or behaviors for various reasons. Most of us are influenced by peer pressure, curiosity, or a desire to escape from stress or emotional pain. Youth can feel this more intensely. In the case of vaping, the allure of flavors, social acceptance, and exposure to enticing marketing tactics contribute to its appeal among teenagers. As a parent, are you aware of environmental factors in your child’s life? Do you know what could be amplifying their curiosity, or who is in their peer group of influence? Are they needing a break, or needing a way to cope with a difficult situation?



Once they start on the path to addiction, they may find themselves trapped. The cycle of dependency and compulsive behavior can keep them stuck. The adolescent brain, still undergoing crucial developmental changes, is particularly vulnerable to the effects of addictive substances like nicotine. Teens may experience heightened susceptibility to addiction and struggle to control their impulses and cravings. The social and emotional pressures of adolescence can increase feelings of isolation, anxiety, and low self-esteem, further fueling the cycle of addiction. In the case of vaping, the highly addictive nature of nicotine can quickly ensnare young users. They become physically dependent just to function like they used to before their addiction. Withdrawal symptoms can be intense when starting to quit.


Hope & Reasons for Better Choices
Despite the challenges posed by addiction, there is hope. Parents can help their youth get ready and get going with reclaiming their power in their own lives. There are effective pathways to recovery and healing. Start with education and prevention efforts, such as those championed by organizations like Parents Against Vaping E-cigarettes (PAVE). The more open you are to talking about difficult things with your youth, the easier they will find it to talk with you. It is your responsibility to learn everything you can first, for yourself. By fostering open dialogue and providing accurate information about the realities of substance abuse, parents can equip teenagers with the knowledge and tools to choose differently and make decisions that get them to longer-term goals in stronger ways.

This article series is not finished! Check back soon for these:

  • Connections & a Good Life
  • Making a Difference As a Parent
  • If you haven't watched the Netflix Docuseries, Big Vape, I recommend it.

You are not alone. Looking for more help and faster results? Talk with Jenn now.


Go to:  Part 3

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