One parent asked me to comment on how to help a teen fill the “what
will I do for fun” void she perceives when trying to move away from
drugs and alcohol as a means of escape. 

This is a tough one, but you have a jump start if your daughter is
showing some willingness to change.  If she’s resistant, see Monday’s post on tough love.

Your daughter will be influenced by the company she keeps, so one of
the first steps is to pad her company with positive influences and
mentors (hey, that could include you!).  Help her seek out either old or
new peer groups as well (old means some of the kids she was close
with before making a hard left into experimentation).

If your daughter feels fulfilled by being active, or if you know that’s
what she needs, suggest these options:

  • Take weekend hikes or moonlight hikes
  • Lift weights
  • Try a dance class – swing dance had become popular with teens
  • Run or jog
  • Ride her bike to school, work, or errands
  • Take up mountain or trail biking
  • Take up karate, judo, or similar sport
  • Return to a sport she dropped

Here are some ideas for a more spiritual or social connection:

  • Join a church youth group (research which one)
  • Take up a new hobby with family or friends – even something like
    cooking, which can be done at home
  • Call a mentor (who could also be a friend)
  • Volunteer!  Many cities have a volunteer organization that pulls kids
    together for this purpose.
  • Write in a journal
  • Write for publication
  • Pick someone with whom to follow a TV series and discuss it
  • Join a mother/daughter book group, or a peer book group
  • Do jigsaw puzzles
  • Play chess – even against the computer (same for solitaire)
  • Tutor kids in one of her best subjects

Helping your daughter work through this transition in her life may not
be easy, but you can be sure it’s in her best interest.

Your turn: How have you helped a teen stay sober?

Mama J (Diane Fromme) is a writer, parent, and stepparent located in
Northern Colorado.  For more information on her book,
Stepparenting the Grieving Child, go to


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