When you have a suspicion or confirmation that your teen is suffering from teen drug abuse, the first thing you’ll want is to sit down and take a breath. It’s an uncertain and scary place to be on the journey or raising your child but if you are concerned you’re in the right mind set. Before you jump into action and begin berating your teenager, take the time to calm down and prepare for a real conversation. Yelling, demanding, confronting and attacking your child verbally will only cause them to become defensive and shut off or walk away from the conversation. You want to spend this time preparing yourself for a conversation that creates a positive foundation on which to build up your relationship with your teen instead of pushing them away.
You should also take the time to talk with your partner or spouse. You child might have a ‘favorite’ parent (i.e. the one that says ‘yes’ instead of no) so you’ll want to have a united front with your spouse in regards to addressing your child’s drug use. You and your partner have to be on the same page or agree to rules that fit both of your beliefs on the subject. When you have an idea of how to move forward and which advice and limitations to set with your child you can then plan to sit down together and discuss them. When discussing the situation with your partner make sure that you are both aware that no one is to blame for your child’s drug use.
Together you can come to an agreement about your shared position and find areas where you disagree but commit to presenting a united front. You should also agree to not undermine each other to you child. No one wants to be the ‘nice’ or ‘mean’ parents so don’t go behind your spouse’s back if your personal beliefs don’t match equally with theirs. Your child needs a united front and structure for his or her parental unit.
Prepare yourself for your child’s reaction
There is a likely chance that your son or daughter will ask whether you used drugs when you were their age. If the answer is yes, prepare to be called a hypocrite. However, if you word things in the right way (this doesn’t mean white lies or lying) you can get across to your child what your feel is best for them. You can explain to your child why you involved yourself in drugs at a young age. It may have been something very relatable like peer pressure. It could also have been something that your child didn’t experience like the need to escape from a bad home life or abuse. Explain that despite those reasons, your reasons as a teen, there is a good reason to do drugs. You can focus on the fact that drugs have different effects on different users which can lead to dangerous and deadly consequences. You should also impress that despite your use of drugs as a teen and the lack of harm is caused you at the time, it still affected those that you knew and have the ability to do so if your child continues to pursue drug use. When explaining your past with drug use (if you had one in your teen years) you should not let it become a justification for your son or daughter to continue experimenting. You don’t want to hear “Well, you did it too!” instead focus on the issues and your united stand on it to set boundaries with your child. They should end the conversation with a clear understanding of your boundaries, expectations and opinion on teen drug abuse.
How can I be certain my child is using drugs?
The only definitive way to be certain that your teen is involved in teen drug abuse it to have proof of it. To have proof, it must be gathered. A lot of parents have reservations about going through their child’s belongings pr bedroom but you must remember that your sole focus is on their well being and growth. There are common hiding spots to be aware of as a parent and kids are only getting craftier by the decade! Common spaces to look for hidden paraphernalia include small boxes, makeup cases, buried in the dirt of houseplants, inside books, inside OTC medicine bottles and under the bed.
When and if you confront your child after finding concrete evidence you should expect them to be angry, defensive and deny deny deny. They may say that the things you found belong to a friend, they may accuse you of hypocrisy but if things get heated walk away from the conversation and try again later. If you’ve had the talk about drug use with your child then they should know the consequences that will occur. However, if you have yet to set any consequences or speak to them about your feelings on drug use you should do so.
What to do if your child has a drug issue
If you believe that your child is dealing with teen drug abuse issue or is using drugs to mask or cope with other issues at home or in school you may wish to seek counseling for them. You can trust the professionals at Insight Treatment to provide solo and group teen therapy sessions that allow your child to express their problems and find healthy means of coping. If you are interested in learning more about our admissions process or programs you can call us at (888) 295-9995.