Kids are not just the parent’s source of happiness but also their source of worry. While a lot of books written by parental writers mindfully reminds us to raise our kids the right way, helping our children make the right choices isn’t always easy to do. That is especially true if you find out that your child is using drugs.
Often, parents who discover that their child is using drugs are at a loss on what they will do right after knowing about it. You might want to punish or scold them severely, which is very tempting, but those were not just the right action when you’re trying to stop them.
Therefore, it is vital to learn how to confront your teen (the right way) before making sudden actions to avoid worsening the situation. If you are one of the struggling parents, you might want to read this article to help you with your dilemma.
Knowing the Signs
Preventing drug use for teens starts at home. This is due to the reason that the parents’ influence their children more than any drug education programs or institutions do. Making sure you have concrete evidence to back up your suspicions before confronting your teen is crucial.
You wouldn’t want to accuse your teens when they are not even taking it as it can stain your relationship with them. It is along these lines that you watch for the most common indications of drug use and do a little research about it before taking action. The common signs are listed as follows:
1. Behavioural Changes
A teen who is taking drugs is expected to have a significant change in how they usually behave. As a matter of fact, it can be the cause of a lot of conflicts between families, friends, and couples that can set the relationship at risk.
It can also be observed that any person who is involved in drug addiction faces a lot of problems in money. They tend to spend and borrow too much that may also prompt for some things and cash to “disappear” within the household which might mean that your kid is stealing to get more money.
A sudden drop in your child’s grades at school can be one of the consequences of drug addiction but there could be a lot of factors that made your kid’s performance at school low so you have to be cautious in citing this as an effect of your kids’ “drug use”.
Teens who engage in drug addiction may also lose interest in accomplishing much more meaningful things and might usually engage in risky behaviours like stealing, driving under the influence, or having unprotected sex.
2. Physical Warning Signs
Unlike behavioural changes, physical changes are a lot difficult to spot since some people are naturally good at pretending or masking the changes occurring inside. While different types of drugs cause different effects, most common physical changes include:
- The odd smell on clothes, body, and breath
- Red, watery eyes; pupils larger or smaller than usual
- Failure to rest, conscious at uncommon occasions, abnormal sluggishness
- Loss of or expanded in hunger, changes in dietary patterns
- Nausea, vomiting or excessive sweating.
- Poor physical coordination
- Persistent cough
- Runny nose
- Tremors or shaking in any part of the body
- Incessant scouring of the nose
- The incessant turning of the jaw, forward and backward
- Poor cleanliness
Examining Yourself and the Situation
It is a typical reaction that you become frustrated or angry upon knowing that your child is using drugs. As a parent, you want what’s best for them and ensuring that there’s a bright future ahead of them is one of your greatest concerns. Just be mindful and make sure that you show no violent or harsh reaction when you approach your child.
Of course, you would not want to scare him or her away that can potentially make your child distant to you. Take time to think and weigh things. Ask questions like “What prompted my child to do such a thing?” “Could it be possible that it is because of how we handle him/her around the house?” or “Does my child have a serious problem that I am not even aware of?”
In doing this, you become open to the idea that it is not entirely your child’s fault and that you may also have your share of faults as to why it happened — which may divert your anger into understanding.
It is important to take note that you will always be responsible for your child’s safety and that you should always try to be supportive and complimentary. Here are the most common reasons why teens engage with drugs:
Some teens use drugs to escape their problems and reality. Being depressed causes us to feel hopeless and experience a different kind of sadness that is why people who suffer depression are eager to find things that can somehow make them feel upbeat. There are a lot of factors why people suffer from this and one of their go-to solutions is to take drugs.
Academic activities such as advanced subjects, quizzes, and tests are one of the major stress factors for teen students. Some can cope up, but unfortunately, others cannot. This is where artificial methods of coping up with stress kick in. Teens become tempted to seek things that can make them feel relaxed regardless of the consequences it brings.
Teenagers are naturally curious and eager to try new, different things. Some people’s purpose is just to know how it feels like but end up clinging to it. This usually happens when a child lacks supervision and there is little to no education regarding the negative effects caused by drug addiction.
Teens at their age are giving real importance to belongingness. It is essential to them that they become part of a group of people where they “belong”. Part of this is doing things that the group is also doing such as taking drugs. Teens become pressured to do things even if they know the risks of it for the sake of not feeling alone. However, one can always avoid this by choosing the right people who influence them.
In our digital age, it is common that the children of today are highly exposed to different social media sites as well as music and TV shows.
Unfortunately, these virtual spaces do not always uphold positive ideas to the child’s young mind and present adverse things instead, like using drugs can make them cool and an “ok” thing to do. So, being aware of the media information that your child is exposed to is necessary and talking to your child about it can highly reduce the chances of your child getting influenced by this negative information.
Various types of drugs can be used to improve various types of circumstances. Teenagers will, in general, use drugs to upgrade vitality and focus when we have a goal that is impossible to accomplish and needs a little assistance. It can likewise be utilized for an improved sexual experience. Although marijuana and liquor are frequently used to relax and be more comfortable in social situations.
Talking to Your Teen
While we mentioned that you should take time to control your emotions first upon finding out that your child is using drugs, it is also important not to take it too long. Research shows that the younger they try drugs, the more likely they are to get addicted to it.
This is why parents should act wisely and quick. Let your child know that you want to talk to him/her and ask when and where you can talk privately without interruptions. Also, take note of your tone when communicating with your child.
The important thing is you talk without being aggressive and always portray kindness when you speak regardless of how alarming the issue is. Open up by stating what you know and assure your kid that you will always be there to support and guide him/her on how to stop using.
Encourage your child to speak honestly and do avoid burdening them with guilt. Talk about your thoughts as to why you think they are doing it and let them know and feel you care about them. Say something like you love your kid and you only want what’s best for him/her. Make sure you make yourself available when he/she needs you for your kid to feel that you’re together in this fight.
Ask about what you can do to help and assure them that you will do everything together along the way. Your teen might say he/she is doing it because of the expectations from her especially when you expect your child to excel in everything whether it be on school or activities.
You can try to lift the pressure and encourage her to focus on herself and what she/he wants to do. Your teen might say they do it because it makes them feel good. You can try to educate and convince your child that taking drugs will not do him/her any good. It’s just a matter of actively listening as to what your child is saying make sure you handle them with utmost care at their most fragile state.
Stay Engaged With Your Teen’s Friends
When parents become disconnected to their teen’s life, it may be hard for them to just reconnect when their child happens to have serious problems or issues. Especially when this kind of situation happens and you have no clue on what is happening to your child’s life at school, it is important to seek guidance to those people who have been in touch to your child.
You have to reach out to your child’s teachers and guidance counsellors and make sure they are aware of your concern. You should also talk to your child’s friends and their parents for you to raise awareness and help you control your kid’s add.
Seeking Help for Intervention
Every parent that is facing this kind of situation must remember that they are not alone in this. An intervention can be made informally—through family and friends, and formally—with the help of a specialist where the most number of successful interventions take place.
Treatment professionals are the ones involved in preventing, screening, intervening, and treating substance use and addiction. They are the experts who dedicated their lives to helping others overcome their addiction.
Educational consultants are the ones who can evaluate your teen’s needs, guarantee they get academic help all throughout the medication treatment. Addiction counsellors, on the other hand, are the ones who advise patients who experience the ill effects of liquor addiction, illicit drug use or other conduct issues.
The counsellor would then be able to review treatment alternatives for your teen and suggest which plans would be ideal.
Further, an intervention happens when a group of people come together and in a sense, confront the person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, and they work to persuade them to not just make changes in their life, but more specifically, to seek help from a professional or a rehab center to deal with their substance abuse.
A group that does intervention usually includes very close friends and family of the person suffering from the addiction, or it can even include colleagues in some cases. In this event, an interventionist is the one who can help. Interventionist’s duties include:
- Support friends and family members considering an intervention
- Teach safe and effective intervention techniques
- Provide guidance before and after an intervention
- Facilitate the intervention
- Provide aftercare support
An interventionist also makes sure that the intervention is executed in a good manner and takes place in the right environment. They know the safest and most correct way of conducting an intervention that is why seeking professional help is vital. Here are the things that you can do to have a successful intervention:
1. Plan when to hold the intervention
Ensure you pick a time and date when your loved one is most affected by the addiction.
2. Gather information
Research about the drug that your loved one is addicted to or the substance that is abused with the goal to learn more about it and how it can be prevented.
3. Appoint a person to be the point of contact
When you have one person to communicate with all team members, it will enable you to stay focus and remain on track.
4. Share the information to the people you trust most
Ensure each of the team members has a piece of similar information regarding your loved one’s addiction and how to prevent it to make sure everybody is well-informed. Hold gatherings or phone calls so as to share updates.
5. Stage a rehearsal for the intervention
At this stage, you can choose who will talk at what point, what the sitting arrangements are and other important details, so there’s no overlapping during the time for the actual intervention session with the individual.
6. Anticipate objections
Ensure that you have calm and rational responses arranged for each reason that your loved one may provide to avoid recovery treatment or responsibility for their behaviour. Offer help that makes it simpler to take part in the treatment, for example going to advising sessions with your the individual.
7. Avoid any confrontation
Communicate with the person involved with concern and support — not outrage. Try to be honest, but don’t take advantage of the intervention as an avenue for a hostile attack. Keep away from being furious or charging statements.
8. Ask for your loved one’s decision
Don’t try to allow your loved one to consider whether to accept the offer for treatment, regardless of whether the person in question requests a couple of days to thoroughly consider it. Doing such enables your loved one to keep denying the issue, seek refuge or worse, leave home. Be ready to get your kid into an assessment to begin treatment quickly if your loved one agrees to the plan.
Offering Alternative Activities
Among the best ways to overcome addiction is to engage in productive, fun, as well as meaningful activities. As parents, one should take action of the recovery of your teen by bringing back the lost interest with such activities due to the consequences of addiction. Here are those examples:
The goal of this particular group activity is to help the patients find the motivation that they need to stay on the treatment program. It changes the way they see the situation because often, they cannot seem to overcome their addiction just because they cannot find a good reason to do so.
This activity is a vital part of any drug treatment procedure for it educates and provides all the
information needed by a patient about the substances, the addiction treatment, withdrawal effects and symptoms, as well as options at hand. It gives them the chance to present an inquiry and grasp a better understanding of what situation they are into.
This activity promotes alertness and is a great way to keep the patients committed to the treatment. Here are the benefits that yoga can do to a person’s body:
- Improves flexibility, strength, and posture
- Increases energy
- Stress reduction
- Breathing better
- Happier life
- Promotes mindfulness
- Improves concentration and clear thinking
Walking around places with greeneries is always known for its calming and also relaxing effect. It can help a patient improve not just physical fitness, but it can also be a kind of meditation.
Making art as a therapy has been used to manage behaviours, process feelings, reduce stress and anxiety, and increase self-esteem. It dives deep to the unrecognized feelings that are inside the patient’s mind and serves as a gateway to their emotions. Its greatest benefit is to freely vent out emotions calmly and beautifully. It does not just express yourself but also your emotions as well.
This activity lets the patient share ideas and experiences to those people who may or may not
experiencing the same situation as they are. It may be challenging to some, but it will surely make them feel that they are not in it alone. Thus, giving them a reason to continue and fight even more.
Relaxation and Meditation
Meditation is an actual process of letting your mind divert and redirect your thoughts. It helps a patient become more aware of their surroundings and well-being. Here are other more interesting benefits that can surely help a patient overcome his/her addiction.
- Stress reduction
- Anxiety management
- Improves emotional health
- Strengthens attention
- Can generate kindness
- Helps fight addiction
- Improves sleep
- Controls pain
- Reduces blood pressure
Relapse Prevention Therapy
A “relapse” is when there is a reoccurrence of an individual’s problematic behaviour, following attempts at recovery. RPT simply aims to prevent and limit relapses by assisting a patient picture out what is likely to have a relapse.
It may be certain feelings that are common to trigger a relapse. These feelings are when you’re tired, lonely, angry, hungry, or bored. Relapse prevention therapy prepares each participant to be vigilant when these emotions come and to provide a plan of action to cope with these triggering factors.