A bit of teenage trouble is expected, but when you think your child is experimenting with drugs, it’s time to get serious. Here’s how to deal with it.
Nearly 50 percent of all teenagers have tried drugs at some point in their lives.
That’s a scary percentage, and it’s even scarier when your kid becomes a part of that number. Teenage trouble with drugs is serious, and it’s something you’ll want to address as soon as you suspect it.
But how are you supposed to do that?
Take a look at this guide to learn what you should do if you think your teenager is taking drugs.
Signs Your Teen Might Have a Drug Problem
You might be able to spot the signs of a substance abuse problem before you find any concrete evidence to support them, read more here. Don’t ignore these signs. If you suspect your teenager is struggling with drugs or alcohol, you should get them help as soon as possible.
If you aren’t sure what to look for, keep an eye out for changes in appearance and behavior.
Changes in Appearance
Changes in appearance vary depending on what substance your teenager is using. But if you notice any of the following warning signs with your teen, they could be good indications your teen is using drugs.
Here’s a quick list of things to watch out for:
- Flushed cheeks
- Red eyes
- Slurred speech
- Poor personal hygiene
- Wearing long-sleeved shirts and pants all the time, even when it’s hot
- Uncontrollable shakes
- Running noses, even if they aren’t sick
- Bruises or other wounds they can’t explain
- Track marks
- Weird, unfamiliar smell on their clothes or breath
- Frequent licking of the lips
These changes might also be harder to spot than they seem. Your child might chew mint gum or eat breath mints to cover up scents. They can also cover physical signs with clothing and makeup.
Changes in Habit
Your teenager might not show any interest in their normal hobbies or activities. They might spend more time by themselves, stay out later at night, or hang out with a new group of friends.
These changes can be hard to pinpoint or connect with drug abuse. If your teen has a drastic change in habits or personality at the same time, you might want to consider drugs or alcohol as a possible root.
Some of these secretive behaviors might include locking the bedroom door, sneaking out at night, not telling you where they’re going, staying away from the house for long periods of time, or missing classes at school.
Because their drug habit is expensive, some teenagers steal to sustain it. You might notice your teen becoming more withdrawn and avoiding direct eye contact with you.
In some cases, you might find the drugs or alcohol. Other times, you have to look for smaller clues. If the car your teen drives comes home with unexplainable dents, they might be driving while under the influence.
Another sign of drug use is finding containers or another packaging inside the home you don’t recognize. Many teens also take their family members prescription drugs.
Know How to React to Teenage Trouble with Drugs
Your first natural reaction to learning your teenager is taking drugs or drinking alcohol might be anger. But don’t get aggressive with your teenager. Yelling at them or trying to punish them doesn’t do much to help the problem.
Getting angry with your child might cause their drug problem to get worse. They might respond by becoming more rebellious or turn to the drugs if they believe you’re upset with them.
This doesn’t mean you can’t be angry.
You can and should be stern. Stay away from explosive behaviors that might drive your child away. Focus on showing how you support them instead.
Have a Talk with Your Teenager
If you suspect your child is struggling with substance abuse, you should sit down and have a talk with them. This can give you more information on how to help them and give them a way out. Some teenagers want help but don’t know how to ask for it.
Make sure the place you talk is quite. Don’t pick a public location that is full of distractions. Try to catch your teenager when they’re calm and in a good mood.
Wait Until Your Teenager is Lucid
This might sound obvious, but many parents attempt to have a conversation with their teenagers when they’re high or drunk. This won’t accomplish anything. Always wait until your child is lucid so they understand the importance and seriousness of the conversation.
You want to confront your teenager, but you should do it in a calm and loving way. If you’re yelling and threatening to punish them, there’s a good chance they won’t open up to you.
The teenager might try to downplay the problem. They might deny using drugs or say they only use them every once in a while. At this time you can explain that you don’t want them using drugs at all.
It’s okay to put consequences to their behavior. But makes sure you stay calm while doing so.
Ask Open-Ended Questions
Teenagers tend to tell you more about their drug use if you ask open-ended questions. These questions might include, “Can you tell me more?” or “How can I help you?”
It’s important to remain non-judgemental. You can also ask them what they think you should do about their drug use.
Show Your Support, Don’t Punish Them
While their behavior should have consequences, normal punishments aren’t going to work. Grounding your teenager or taking their phone away isn’t going to make them stop using drugs or drinking alcohol.
While you’re talking with them, make sure you show them how much you love them and how you’re there to support them. If they’re honest about their drug use, let them know you’re thankful for what they’ve told you.
Get Your Child into Treatment
It’s important to get your teenager the proper treatment as soon as possible. Talking with a therapist or taking them to a rehabilitation facility will help them on their road to recovery.
Be firm about your choice to get them help. If they’re underage, the choice isn’t up to them. Don’t let them control it. When you’re dealing with teenage trouble over 18, you can leverage things like financial help and living situations to persuade them into treatment as well.
Looking for the right treatment facility for your teenager? Here are five good reasons to consider a Christian rehab center.