Today, exposure to various drugs, alcohol, tobacco is unfortunately quite common in adolescents. The primary reason for teenagers’ inclination towards using dangerous substances is social pressure. Either friends or any other person with whom the teen hangs out pressurize them to try out drugs. And this eventually leads to drug addiction disorders. Other reasons kids resort to drug abuse include mental health problems, genetic issues, or environmental conditions.
There is, unfortunately, no one-size-fits-all approach to preventing drug abuse. And so, many parents find themselves in a dilemma about controlling their kids’ unhealthy practices. As parents, you play a highly critical role in your teenager’s drug abuse or substance abuse disorder journey. Remember, you hold power to divert their attention and retreat them from the enticement of drugs. The earlier you address this issue and confront your kid, the less likely your kid will get exposed to potential chronic problems. However, before starting a conversation, breathe deep and map out a plan to discuss the matter. Also, educate yourself about the risks and dangers of drugs to have a proper dialogue with your kid.
Here’s what you must do if your child is indulging in drugs:
Research different options
Before encouraging your child to seek professional treatment, explore different recovery programs available. Sure, your child can put a stop to drug abuse on their own. However, the kid can learn to let go of these habits and fight withdrawal symptoms with recovery options. That way, you can assure your kid that it’s still never too late to mend things and get sober.
Choose a treatment or therapy option that best suits your kid’s needs. For instance, if your child uses drugs but is still not heavily addicted to them, you can opt for outpatient treatment. However, if your child has substance abuse disorder, a residential treatment facility is ideal for them. The residential treatment allows the addicted person to remain under the care and supervision of addiction therapists, healthcare workers, and specialists 24/7. That way, your kid will steer clear of any distractions that may handicap the recovery process.
Determine the root cause
You might feel guilty sneaking into your child’s room and invading privacy. However, know that your core responsibility is to look after your child and ensure their well-being. Therefore, search different hideaways in the room such as backpacks, drawers, closets, jewelry boxes, the area beneath the bed, or between the books. Also, keep tabs on the friends that accompany your child. Pay heed where your kid spends time and notice unusual patterns and behaviors in the personality.
As you collect the evidence, you may be able to uncover the underlying cause that led your kid to use drugs. Expect your child to come up with various excuses to defend themselves. However, if you fail to find any evidence, still nerve yourself for the critical conversation.
Choose an appropriate time to talk
Do not address the issue and confront your child when they are jittery or in a hurry. Instead, it’s prudent that you select the right time to begin the conversation. Start by sharing any drug abuse incident that happened recently. Or better yet, educate your child about the pernicious effects of drugs on the human body. Dinner time is also suitable to bring up this topic.
Also, it’s equally important, if not more, to listen intently and stay non-judgmental. Ensure that you and the person who shares the parenting duties don’t make assumptions during the conversation. Give time to your kid to speak their heart out and share their story.
Don’t lose hope
You may not have control over your children’s actions. However, you can take every necessary measure in your capacity to be a positive role model. For example, be open to communication and let your kid know that you care and will always be there for them.
While talking, it is common for kids to storm off, get mortified, stay in denial, or indulge in arguments. However, as parents, it is your responsibility not to give up. Instead, make your child understand how drug abuse can prove detrimental to their health. And if your child stumbles or you catch them using drugs, show disgruntlement and give them minor punishment.
Define healthy boundaries
It is habitual for parents to say motivating phrases such as ‘get creative and be smart’ or ‘make your decisions.’ However, every person can interpret these words differently. For example, you may mean to act wisely; however, your child may think it is okay to drink unless they blackout. That’s why it’s imperative to be precise and share your opinions distinctly. Be clear and straightforward about your stance on drugs.
After all, the viewpoints of parents matter a lot to the children. Set a list of behaviors you allow in the house. Also, warn your kids about the repercussions of the intrusion of boundaries.
Just the thought of a kid using drugs is enough to make any parent furious and startled. Or you might become enraged if your kid lies about drug abuse. And it’s entirely natural to feel all riled up. However, ensure to remain calm and ponder rationally. Remember, none of these emotions will do any good to your child.
Think about a strategy and make them understand that lying is intolerable. Then, figure out the reasons why your child lied in the first place. Finally, determine where this behavior comes from and teach them to speak the truth at all times, no matter what.
Last but not least, don’t forget to look after your mental and physical health. Undoubtedly, finding the child’s involvement in substance abuse is a harsh and unpleasant situation for you and your spouse or co-parent. While dealing with such circumstances, your energy may drain out. Therefore, find a support network to count on and discuss your feelings. It can either be your friends, family members, addiction therapists, or parents that have been in the same shoes.
However, while looking out for a support group, ensure to choose people who have your kid’s best interests. Don’t fall into the trap of individuals who wish to help just for personal gain or some favor in return.
While it is pretty easy to label marijuana, drugs, and vaping products as mere experiments or initiation rites, know that most addiction problems emerge in pubescence. Not to forget how dependency habits can spell severe ramifications down the road for children. Therefore, it is indispensable that, being parents, you should keep an eye out for such activities and observe unhealthy practices.
And if you ever suspect any concerning changes, talk to them. Being reluctant will only make things worse. Instead, be there for your child and get the help they need to stop abusing drugs.