Discover the 4 Things to Avoid and the Best Ways to Talk to Your Teen About Drug Abuse
Until their brain fully develops, teenagers are often impulsive and erratic with their decision making. Of course, substance abuse is among the main concerns as a parent. Is my child’s behavior just normal teenage behavior or is it an indication of something more? Is it drugs? What to do if my teenager is using drugs will be discussed in this article to better understand the dos and don’ts of talking to your teen about drug abuse.
The teenage years are filled with teenage angst; not being a child anymore but not quite an adult either can be an intense experience. Without any real freedoms but with many of the expectations and responsibilities of adulthood, teenagers are in a part of their life that is filled with experimentation as they discover who they are. Experimenting with substance abuse can forever alter the development of your teenager’s brain. But if they aren’t experimenting with drugs, then you don’t want to destroy the trust you share either. It is therefore vitally important that you approach to situation carefully.
Teen Drug Abuse Statistics
Teen drug use facts reveal the extent of the substance abuse problem in our youth; past-year use of illicit drugs in 8th graders was 5.8 percent, 9.4 percent among 10th graders and 13.3 percent in the 12th grade population in 2017.
However, teen drug abuse statistics for the last decade reveals that the rates of abuse of most common drugs don’t show signs of increasing. Some of the more alarming teen drug use facts is that the perceived dangers of using illicit drugs and prescription drugs has declined in most teenagers, making it even more important to know what to do if my teenager is using drugs.
What to Do If My Teenager is Using Drugs: The Dos and Don’ts
If you want to know what to do if my teenager is using drugs, then the following will serve as a guideline to help you avoid common pitfalls and ultimately reach through to you teenager about the dangers of substance abuse.
1. Don’t Go It Alone
It can be a scary thought to think that your child is going down the road of addiction, and it may cause you to want to jump to action to save them from that kind of life, but going it alone can put tremendous strain and stress on your shoulders. Avoid tackling the entire issue by yourself.
Instead, Talk With Your Partner
If one parent says yes while the other no, it can create not only a confusing message but it can undermine your actions. Instead, talk with your spouse or partner so that you both have the same stance on the situation before you attempt to approach your teenager.
Things to talk to your partner about include:
- Coming to a unified position.
- Remind one another that there is no need to place blame on anyone.
- Commit to not undermining each other.
- Even if you both don’t agree on all the points, always show a united front.
- Remind each other to approach the situation with love.
2. Don’t Expect to Get Away Scot-Free
It’s likely that your teenager will ask you about your past drug use. If you have experimented in the past, then don’t lie and say that you haven’t done drugs. But you also shouldn’t let your response be your teenager’s justification for their illicit drug use.
Instead, Use Your Response to Dissuade Their Use
One of the ways to approach this question is to use it as a way to tackle some of the main issues that they are facing, such as fitting in and peer-pressure. You could respond by saying that you only tried it because you were trying to be a part of your peer group, but then discovered that it accomplished nothing and that it wasn’t a good reason to risk the many dangers of addiction.
Another approach to justifying your past drug experimentation is that substance abuse affects each person differently and even though you might have come out unscathed, you saw many other people fall into a life-altering addiction.
Be honest in your answers, but ensure that the focus is on not wanting them to use drugs.
3. Don’t Go In Blind
One of the last things you want to do when trying to figure out what to do if my teenager is using drugs is to go in blind. What is meant by this is talking to your teen without evidence of your claims. Even if they are using drugs and you don’t have any evidence, they can take on a defensive stance that ends up getting you nowhere.
Instead, Gather Evidence
While it’s understandable that you don’t want to go through your child’s belongings without their consent, your main concern and responsibility is for their well-being. You may find evidence of substance abuse in the following hiding places:
- In desk drawers between clothing
- Small boxes such as stationary or jewelry boxes
- Underneath their bed
- Buried beneath dirt in a potted plant
- In backpacks or duffle bags
- Books with pages cut out to create an open space
- Hidden in loose floor boards
- In false bottoms of fake soda cans and the like
If you find something, then you should consider the ways in which your child might deny it, such as claiming it isn’t theirs, so that you can be prepared.
4. Don’t Just Say No
When you finally confront your teen about their drug use, then don’t just tell them to stop in a one-sided conversation, or lecture. Scare tactics should also be avoided as many of the risks they may think don’t apply to them.
Instead, Have a Two-Way Conversation
Instead of lecturing your child, ask them about their views on drug abuse, such as how they feel about friends that may be abusing drugs. Body language can also reveal a great deal about what your child thinks about the topic.
When looking at negative facets of drug use, focus only on the things that apply to them, such as poorer performance in sporting activities that they enjoy. During the talk, it is also a great time to talk about effective strategies that they can use to avoid peer pressure.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, get help right away. Make a phone call that will connect you to a professional drug treatment center. The call you make may save your life or the life of someone you love. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.