These days, kids are faced with non-stop pressure to drink or take drugs. Even if they know their parents don’t approve, some choose to lie and sneak around.
Their parents, meanwhile, are often in denial. It’s difficult to accept that their son or daughter would deceive them. They want to believe their excuses, no matter how outlandish.
No parent wants to think their child is using drugs or drinking alcohol. It’s easier to ignore the problem and pretend nothing’s wrong. But avoiding the issue doesn’t make it go away. It will only get worse.
Parents should listen to their instincts. If you feel something is wrong, act right away. Teens can progress from social use to dependence or addiction very quickly. The earlier you intervene, the more effective you will be.
If you suspect drug use, investigate further. Learn to recognize the signs of substance abuse, including side effects and common drug paraphernalia. Look for radical behavior changes. Watch for missing alcohol, medicine bottles or money. Ask questions about your child’s friends, what their values are and how they like to spend their free time.
If you still have concerns, it’s time to have a talk. Don’t be surprised if they act upset or defensive. To keep the conversation from escalating, following these five steps for effective conversations:
- Explain Your Suspicion: Tell them what you have observed. Inquire (in a non-judgmental tone) about their behavior.
- Listen Actively: Allow your child to give an explanation without interruption. Suspend your pre-conceived beliefs until you hear them out.
- Stay Calm: Your child may admit to things you don’t want to hear. Don’t yell or threaten. Encourage them to honest without the risk of punishment.
- Show Concern: Remind them that you love them and want them to make positive choices. Talk about the importance of good health.
- Get Help: Your child may need a professional assessment. There are great facilities in the area that can determine if a medical intervention is necessary.
Most kids are making good choices about drugs, so don’t jump to conclusions. Be an engaged parent while still allowing them their freedom and independence.
source: Metropolitan Drug Commission