You obviously care for your children, and the teenage years can be a very nerve-wracking time for you. This is where they have one foot in childhood and one foot in adulthood. They’re curious and adventurous, but not so experienced that they always make the right choices! Like it or not, one of the things your teen is likely to come into contact with is illegal drugs. Here’s some advice on this difficult subject.
The first thing you need to do is keep an eye out for the signs. Obviously, as your teen goes through puberty, you’ll expect certain changes in their behavior and attitude. However, it’s important to know which signs could be related to drug use. Teenagers who are using drugs will often abruptly find a new group of friends, have a sharp drop in their grades, or show sudden changes in their sleeping or eating habits. Many of them will begin to miss classes or skip whole days of school, begin to show a carelessness in their physical appearance, or lose interest in activities which they used to be passionate about. One or more of these changes doesn’t necessarily mean a drug problem. However, they’re certainly indicators that you should be a little more vigilant.
If you do find hard evidence that your teen is using drugs, then obviously you’re going to want to talk to them. However, there’s a right way and a wrong way to do this. Teenagers feel like they’re under a lot of pressure as it is, and if you burst into their room and start shouting up a storm, they’re only going to close up and become defensive. Start it off with a relaxed conversation, and questions about the bigger picture of their life. How are things going at school? Is everything alright with their friends? Be sure to ask more probing questions, rather than ones that can get one-word answers. In the best case scenario, they’ll open up about their drug use without you having to do much of the work at all.
In the worse, and much more likely scenario, your kid will give vague answers and become defensive. This is where you should reveal that you know they’re experimenting with drugs. Again, keeping your cool, explain the various dangers associated with drugs. Tell them about the legal status of drugs, and that you have no intention of having to hire a drug offense attorney for them! Explain how different drugs can permanently warp the brain, leading to addictions that can be very hard to recover from. You should also explain how harder drugs are often “cut” with various impurities, and that there’s no way your kid can tell for certain what’s in the drugs they’re taking. If they’re comfortable admitting to it, try to get to the source of why your kid is using drugs. It could be as simple as them being bored and wanting to have fun. Other times it’s peer pressure, or the stresses of their school and home life. Get to the root of your kid’s drug use, and it will be much easier to turn around.