Teen Substance Abuse
Dealing with Teen Substance Abuse
One of the things that can scare a parent more than anything else is when they suspect that their son or daughter may be using or abusing drugs. Parents usually have such high hopes for their children and desire what is best for them. A problem like teen substance abuse could jeopardize your child’s future, making it that much more scary.
If you suspect that your son or daughter may be using drugs, the first thing to do is simply ask. It is important to have a straightforward conversation with them, even if you think it may result in a fight. Just like with a medical issue, substance abuse cannot be treated until you know exactly what the problem is.
After you confront them, it is likely that you will experience denial and anger from your teen. Resolve to remain calm, no matter what your teen says during this time, clearly lay out the evidence that has led you to believe they are using. Don’t be discouraged if your teen doesn’t immediately admit to using and agree to work towards stopping during this first conversation. This will likely be a long and uphill battle, and your goal for this first step should be to communicate that you do not want them using drugs and it will not be tolerated. If you can walk away from the conversation feeling like you got this point across, consider it a success.
As you continue in the process to help your teen overcome substance abuse, several treatment options may be appropriate. Spell these out clearly for your teen, and make sure you have a way to enforce them so they do not become empty threats. Seeking accountability with a neutral mentor, participation in individual counseling, or attendance to NA or AA may prove to be helpful. Your teen’s response throughout this time will likely continue to be negative. You are getting in between something that they probably enjoy, something that they use to cope with stress or problems, and sometimes something that they feel that they cannot live without.
It may be helpful to think of the most serious romantic relationship you have had. How would you have reacted if someone would have tried to prevent you from seeing this person? You would have done everything you could to see that person that you liked and reversely, you would have really disliked the person who was getting in your way. At times the pull of drugs is so strong that when someone tried to interrupt a person’s use the person will respond to them in a very negative way. You must be strong enough, you must persevere enough, and you must love them enough to stick through their negative reactions and help them get the help that they need. Act now.