February 26, 2019
The discovery your teen has a drug or alcohol problem can be very distressing. The best way to deal with it is to first not blame yourself and second, figure out how you want to handle the situation. Remember, doing nothing is not an option. This is your child and you might well be their last line of defense against some serious repercussions.
Recognizing the Signs of Drug Addiction
No one knows your teen better than you do. As such, it’s up to you to monitor their behavior. While they may vary based on the substance your teen is abusing, there are some rather universal signs of drug addiction you can consider as red flags. These might include:
- A sudden withdrawal from important relationships
- A negative change in your teen’s hygiene
- Sudden behavioral problems
- Inability to handle responsibilities
- diminishing performance in school
- Paraphernalia found in room or backpack
If you see these red flags, you need to act quickly.
5 Crucial Steps to Approaching Your Teen about Their addiction
As you put your confrontation plan in place, you can count on some form of push back. The better your preparation, the more likely your efforts will be effective. Here’s a five-step guideline with which to best approach your teen.
1. Educate Yourself – You teen knows about addiction because they are living it. You need to educate yourself about addiction and the potential for disaster prior to trying to talk to you teen about what is going on.
2. Handle the Initial Conversation in a Positive Manner – Your teen has a illness. You can’t punish that illness away. Instead of attacking and accusing, prepare yourself to be sympathetic to the addiction and what your child is going through.
3. Set Boundaries – Your teen will know they have been exposed. Use this knowledge to set expectations about their behavior going forward. Those expectations should include not using and getting help.
4. Provide a Solution – You child is a minor and as such, they don’t have the same access to information as you may have. You can be proactive about the discussion by having a treatment solution in mind before the conversation starts.
5. Maintain Your Supportive – During the entire exposure process, you teen needs to know they have your support. Even if you have to get forceful about them entering rehab, you can still do so without making it feel like punishment. At all times, they need to know your concern is centered around love and care.
Helping your teen deal with important issues is a big part of the parenting process. While they may not be able to deal with their lives as is, you have the ability to make a difference. They may not realize it, but they need your help.