If your children are between the ages of 12 to 18, they are especially vulnerable to those behavioral patterns that quickly lead to the preliminary stages of addiction. This is because pre-adolescent and adolescent young people are peer-pressure driven; want to be part of the group; love excitement; are developing identities; and have brains------especially the pre-frontal cortex------that is still not fully developed; and, therefore, may display a lack of good judgment, common sense, and reasonableness. They can be rash, impulsive, and too-open to experimenting with new thrills. In fact, from the very first alcoholic drink or drug, their brains are being changed in order to lay the foundation for compulsive substance use.
Parents make the mistake of perceiving drug or alcohol use and addiction as just a problem of society. Parents could think that the substance user can simply stop using if they simply make the decision to stop; but this is a very bad mistake because parents don’t realize that drug or alcohol use is very complex. The use of drugs or alcohol immediately impacts the brain and that the ability to stop may no longer be a matter of willpower.