I Think My Teen May Be Experimenting With Drugs
How do you know your teenager is experimenting with drugs? This is a hard question to answer for any parent because you’re trying to collect all the evidence and it’s like putting a big jigsaw puzzle together. The following principles are what you need to take into consideration when figuring out if your teen is getting high on drugs.
Breathe Deeply and Get Over the Shock
It’s definitely a shock to the system to suspect your teen may be experimenting with drugs. There are many things that are going through your head right now and your feeling many emotions. Its best to just stop and take some deep breathes to get over the initial shock. You’ll be able to think more clearly and not react to the situation at hand.
Don’t Pretend that your Teenager is not Susceptible to Drug Taking
Some parents would like to think their teenager would never do anything like this because they weren’t brought up that way and they’re also doing well at school and so forth. But these days’ teenagers are exposed to much more than what we know. Teen athletes can also be susceptible to taking steroids and some teens are also known to take Speed as it helps them concentrate better in class.
Also some parents can view their teen’s drug taking as a phase or right of passage that every teen goes through. They like to think this is something that their teen will stop and eventually grow out of. If this is you then you’ll have to change this perception and stop being your teen’s friend and start being their parent. It’s best to look at this problem as a cry for help from your teenager. Maybe they’re struggling with something else or hanging with the wrong crowd.
Educate Yourself and Know the Signs and Symptoms of Drug Taking
Parents who suspect their teenager may be experimenting with drugs should notice any gradual or sudden changes in their teen’s emotions and behaviour. They may wonder whether it is a sign of drug use. It may be, but it’s important not to jump to conclusions. Changes could be caused by something else such as illness, problems at school or with friends. Are things going on in your family that could be affecting them?
Changes may include:
• unusual or out-of-character behaviour
• mood swings that are more than the usual ups and downs caused by hormonal changes in adolescence
• being aggressive
• being withdrawn or avoiding being with the family
• a drop in school work or attendance
• dropping out of activities or sports they usually enjoy
• an unexplained or sudden change to a new group of friends
• big changes in physical appearance
• eating problems
• changes in sleeping patterns
• valuable items or money missing at home.
Check Your Child’s Room for Drugs or Drug Paraphernalia
Your teen’s privacy is important but so is their safety and well-being. If you suspect your teen is experimenting with drugs then be a responsible parent and check their bedroom for any drugs or drug paraphernalia. Although your teen will hate you for doing this know in your heart that this is what responsible parents do.
If you do find drugs or paraphernalia you can either dispose of them straight away or hand them over to the police. If you decide to use the police then be prepared for some harsh consequences for your teenager but this may be what is needed.
Share Your Concerns with your Teenager
Whether you suspect your teen is taking drugs or not it’s still important to communicate with your teenager about drugs as a preventative manner. However if you suspect your teen is experimenting with drugs then express your concerns to them without being offensive. Your teen may deny the problem and will possibly get defensive due to fear of punishment and guilt.
Consider professional help
If you still think your teen is experimenting with drugs then its best to make an appointment with your doctor and get them tested as well as making an appointment with a therapist. Some parents have no other choice as their teen will deny using drugs and be very secretive. Early intervention is critical to maintaining their health and wellbeing, and helping them achieve a drug-free lifestyle in the future.
Know that even if your teen gets very angry with you, you can work on building back the trust you both have in your relationship once their drug use is under control.
What if the drug test comes out clean and your teen is not using drugs? Did you go through all of that for nothing? No. What you have done is ruled out one problem. Something made you think that your teen was using drugs and unfortunately, drug use is not the only issue some struggling teens face.