Parents normally shudder the thought of their teen ever attempting to try drugs as they feel they are too smart to try or they feel if they do try, they will not become addicted. A national survey says that 8% of kids from ages 12-17 have used illegal drugs in the past month and 16% during the past year. Parents need to let their kids know that they can come to them and that you will get them help to prevent their addiction from getting worse.
Parent Controlling Their Teens
Parents feel like they will have more control over their child’s life by being authoritative and harsher on them to scare them from ever trying drugs. The truth is that what a child really needs from a parent is warmth, empathy, and understanding. You can be strict but it does not mean that you need to be harsh and you need to have effective communication that tells your children that they can come to you. Let your child know that you do not expect them to experiment with drugs or alcohol. At the same time, you should also not make your child feel guilty or ashamed for trying substance use or they will be less likely to open up to you. Educate them about not getting behind the wheel intoxicated or letting a friend who is equally drunk to drive you home as well. That it should not matter what time in the day as your child’s health is more important.
Letting Kids Be Kids
There are other parents who feel like it is a routine for kids to drink and smoke marijuana at parties so they figure they should “let kids be kids.” Then there are those who assume that it is impossible for their child to become an addict or that the experimentation will stop when a teen matures and goes to college. Parents also feel like kids are going to experiment with drugs no matter what so it would be safer under their supervision at home compared to being in the community where they are not there.
Peer Pressure’s Effect
Unfortunately, the power of peer pressure is very strong and anti-drug messages will be ignored when your child wants to be popular and accepted by their peers. Teens have a good chance of continuing their drug abuse through adulthood without help. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration says that teens who have used drugs at age 14 or younger are six times more likely to form addiction than those who tried at age 18. Drug use is not a normal routine or a milestone kids should reach as there are lasting behavioral changes they can endure.
Parents Should Notice Strange Behavior
It is important for parents to notice any strange behavior their child is exhibiting like in who they spend time with, their appearance, trouble at school, missing school, loss of interest in hobbies, eating and sleeping changes, and emotional outbursts. Maybe you have noticed these changes but think they will pass in time. Even if these changes could be a sign of mental illness or stress without there being a drug problem, it still means there is something wrong with your child. Instead of focusing on what you have or have not done, think about helping out your child instead. Dwelling on the past is a waste of time and energy. You may not be able to change the past but you can change the future. You should keep drugs and alcohol away from the house so that you can set a good example for your child.
Talk to Your Teen
Continue to talk to your teen and do not get too hung up on why they are taking drugs. Blame is not going to fix the situation. Just let your child know you are concerned, stay calm, and let them know you are there for them. If your child gets angry or denies that they have a problem, it is best to back off. It is also important to take care of yourself by eating and sleeping, doing something nice for yourself, getting therapy if you need it, and not give in to unhealthy habits that your kids can pick up on.
Don’t Wait to Get Help
Another mistake parents make is not doing anything about their child’s drug abuse because then they know they will need to send their child away to rehab which then they can be gone for months. The length of time your child will be away will be depending on what type of program your child needs. For less intense addictions during the early stages, there are outpatient therapy programs where a counselor can see your child on a weekly basis. Your child can also go to a detox center for a few days to cleanse their body of the harmful chemicals in their system before starting treatment.
Outpatient programs meet after school for several hours for five days with group sessions and family counseling. With outpatient, you do not need to let anyone know you are getting drug treatment as it is a personal choice of who you do and do not tell. Inpatient treatment, on the other hand, is for more serious addictions that have taken a toll on their child’s life. This can involve living at a facility for thirty to ninety days where you can make regular visits and contact the treatment team for progress updates. Do everything humanly possible for your child while the signs are still there.
Choose Bayview Recovery Center for your child’s addiction treatment. Our mission is to offer clinically-driven programs and services to treat a number of substance abuse disorders. We also can treat mental disorders such as anxiety and depression. In order to do this, we use cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, trauma therapy, yoga therapy, and more. This ensures that you have a successful recovery. For more information, please call us at 855.478.3650. We are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.