When you become a parent, nobody prepares you for all the challenges and obstacles you may experience on this exciting journey. There’s no manual on how to properly handle every situation as a parent.
True, being a parent is a wonderful thing to do, but there may be some of the challenges you’d never expect to happen to you and your children. Probably the biggest challenge of parenting is during the teenage years of your child since this is the transitional stage from childhood to adulthood followed with the need for discovery and disorientation. Many parents don’t know how to handle their teen’s behaviour, especially if there are some serious issues involved such as the abuse of drugs or alcohol.
Why Teens Experiment With Drugs
If you’re a parent and have a teenager at home you may be worried about his or her potential usage and abuse of drugs.
There are various reasons why teens use or abuse drugs. Social settings in which substances are easily accessible play a crucial role for the first time usage. If the teen continues abusing the drugs, it may be related to his or her desire to be accepted in a specific social group; it may be a result of their insecurities or a mixture of both. Often teens don’t think about the consequences of drug abuse and their actions, which may only bring more damage and harm to them by putting their safety and health at risk.
Teens love experimenting with lots of things it’s their way of testing themselves and searching for their identity in this turbulent period of their lives. Experimenting with drugs doesn’t necessarily cause addiction, but it can still cause problems such as changed behaviour, car accidents or sexual assaults.
Is My Kid Abusing Drugs?
To get an answer to this question unfortunately you’ll need physical proof. Various drug tests are used to detect the presence of drugs in the urine, blood or saliva. Nowadays you can even do drug tests at your home, you don’t need to go to the lab and spend extra time there. Drugs tests are available across Europe, the USA or Australia. The latest one offers quality drug test kits that you may even order online. These tests are simple to use and allow you quick results. Some of the potential problems of using drugs tests at home are that there’s always a possibility your child will cheat on a drug test. This may give you a false sense of security and leave you thinking your child’s not abusing drugs. But there are tricks on how to prevent them from cheating (eg. being present while your child is doing the test) even though it’s not very pleasant for neither of you.
Signs of Abusing Drugs
Signs such as mood changes and attitude changed sleeping patterns and interests, often temper outbursts are common in teens who abuse drugs. But it’s hard to tell for sure your child is abusing drugs since these signs are already common in teens and pre-teens.
More serious signs and red flags include breaking rules and pulling out of the family, sudden and extreme change in a group of friends, physical appearance and coordination. Red flags may also include poor judgment and as a result poor school performance and loss of interest. Which leads us to more serious psychological problems such as signs of depression, anxiety, hostility or withdrawal.
Parents often feel uncomfortable discussing the abuse of drugs with their teens. Moreover, they’re afraid of what they may find out, things they’d never expect to hear from their child. When this happens, try not to be judgmental but rather listen to them and make them feel comfortable so they can feel safe enough to ask for much-needed help.
How to Help
If you’re worried your child might be experimenting or abusing drugs make sure you give them proper help. The main thing when it comes to these situations is to avoid ignoring the problem or waiting for it to resolve itself. It’s not advisable to shame your teen because of the problem or to react with anger. This may only make them feel more lonely and distant from people (the family) who might be their only support at that moment. Instead, talk to your child. Having a conversation about drugs and the usage of it is important. Before the talk, make sure you pick a good time to talk eg. when you’re not angry and your teen’s not intoxicated.
You’re aware that your child is hurting and there’s not much you can do except to listen and make them feel safe. Create an environment that will help your child share its thoughts and confront its problems that lie beneath. It’s never too soon to start the conversation about drug abuse.
Sometimes dealing on your own with this problem and dealing with it inside the family isn’t enough. If your child has already tried quitting or reducing the usage of drugs and he or she failed, then maybe the best thing to do is to receive proper treatment. Many treatment facilities will target the main causes which led to the usage of drugs, which are usually emotional and social issues. Some of these centres often offer educational support which means that the child in recovery can keep a track of school and necessary education.
Substance abuse among teens and young people is on the rise. It’s a common thing for teenagers to experiment with alcohol and drugs in those years. But sometimes this can take the wrong direction and lead to drug abuse and being dependent on it. Being a parent to a child who’s abusing drugs can be devastating and very stressful. To help your child stay safe and healthy, it’s important to give them much needed love and comfort. If that’s not enough, seek professional help and specialists who can offer proper help and care.