When you think of your stereotypical “good kid,” you probably picture him playing soccer, tap-dancing, singing along with their church choir, learning the trumpet—anything but drugs and alcohol.And in this case, the cliché is warranted: researchers at Dartmouth found that adolescents who participate in group activities are less likely to use drugs. There are several proposed reasons for this.Unsurprisingly, authority figures were found to play an important role. The guidance of a good coach or teacher extends far beyond whatever they teach. They encourage confidence, leadership, teamwork, and a sense of inclusion that stays with a child throughout their lives.Another valuable quality kids seem to derive from after-school activities is the ability to lose—or, more specifically, to continue to compete after losing. Perseverance is endlessly important quality for succeeding in life—and a learned one. Progressing through that learning curve early on, in non-consequential situations like football games and singing contests, makes us less likely to check out of important opportunities in our adult lives.Parents of troubled adolescents who did not participate in such activities should not feel as though the disadvantage cannot be corrected. Sure, having already delved into a notoriously vicious cycle, they may require closer, more intense intervention to get on the right track, but there are programs out there that offer young adults exactly that: healthy, creative activities that prove successful in turning behavior around.
If interested, research young adult substance abuse centers in your area or contact The Last Resort for expert help at 512-750-6750.