All parents want for their children is for them to the safe, happy, and healthy. When your kids are little, you can help them to be all of these things. But at your babies turn into teenagers, they need more independence. And while sometimes this independence can help them learn skills and grow as people, sometimes this independence allows your teen to make decisions that don’t necessarily align what who they are or how you raised them, like if they’ve chosen to start taking drugs. So if you think that your teen is embarking down this dark path, here are three things you can do to help your teen through this challenging time for your entire family.
Set A Time For Parents or Guardians To Sit Down With Your Teen
Whether you know for sure that your teen is using drugs or you just have a strong suspicion, it’s a good idea to gather with your teen and any other parents or guardians in order to have a discussion about what’s going on. When preparing for this discussion, the National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends that you and everyone else involved try their hardest not to escalate this conversation to an argument. As hard as it might be, try to come at this from a scientific perspective rather than an emotional perspective, as this might give you the best chance of actually reaching your teen.
Seek To Understand Why Your Teen Is Using Drugs
During this initial conversation with your teen about their drug use, Molly Bobek, a therapist and contributor to CenterOnAdditiction.org, advises that you seek to understand why your teen is using drugs in the first place. This will allow you to address the root of the issues rather than just the symptoms, which is the drug use. To do this, you could begin asking questions about what you teen thinks the positives of using drugs are, what he or she is worried about with their drug use, and the risks that are involved—including the legalities of criminal behavior. This type of approach might make your teen comfortable enough to speak with you rather than just become defensive or aggressive.
Give Your Teen Explicit Rules and Consequences
While you might have come at this issue with a softer approach, as outlined above, that doesn’t mean that your teen should be able to continue this type of behavior without consequences. For this reason, DrugFree.org shares that you should set some very explicit rules for your teen and give them the exact consequences of what will happen if those rules are broken. Just be sure, however, that you give rules you can enforce and consequences that you can stick to.
If you think your teen might be using drugs, consider using the tips mentioned above to help you start a dialogue with them and get them back on the right track.