Learn more on ways to best handle a teen with a drug problem
Researchers state that teenagers are more susceptible to addiction, as at this age the pleasure centre in the brain is much more developed, than the centre responsible for making mature decisions. Hence it very necessary to keep a constant watch on your teenagers' habits, to keep a tab on how and with whom they socialize, and most importantly to discuss the ill-effects of doing drugs with them.
Recognizing your teen has a drug problem
Here are a few signs that could indicate your teenager is on drugs:
Drug Abuse Trivia
6.6 percent of 12th graders use marijuana every day.
An average American girl has her first drink by the time she is 13; and boy at 11.
40% of U.S. teens say they expect to use a drug in the future.
- Your child begins avoiding conversation with you and becomes secretive
- A change in friend circles and hang-out joints
- Fall in school attendance and grades
- Demand for money is on the rise
- Very little or no interest in their favorite activities
- Severe mood swings
- Sudden weight gain or weight loss
- Red eyes
These signs indicate there is some problem, though not necessarily the use of drugs. Whatever may be the problem, it is important for the parent to identify it, before it turns too serious to handle.
What you must do immediately
It is necessary when you notice some of the above signs to check:
- The teenager's room for drug supplies like rolled paper, pipes.
- Check if your prescribed medicines, money or alcohol stock in the house is going missing
- Check whether your teenager is using excessive room fresheners, deodorants etc. to hide drug odor
Once you are convinced that your child is doing drugs, it's best to first confront him, let him know how upset you are about the situation but nonetheless assure him of your support in helping him become drug free and then positively seek professional help for treatment.
Parental Tips to handle teenagers with drug problems
Drug addiction is damaging not just for a teenager, but handling an addict is a big cause of worry and stress for the parents as well. It is not easy to handle a teenager who is into drugs. Parents need every bit of courage, presence of mind, patience and most of all physical and mental strength to not only help the child, but to also help themselves stay in control of the situation. Here are some tips that may help:
Understanding Addiction - As a parent before you extend any help you need to understand what is drug addiction and what it may be doing to your child, both physically and mentally. An understanding of the problem will equip you to help your child in a much better manner.
Give your child extra love and attention: No matter how upset you may be with your teen, you have to continuously assure, that you are there together in the fight against drugs.
Spend quality time together : It is normal for your teen to feel ashamed or estranged when discovered. He or she might want to stay away and aloof. It is the responsibility of the parents to take out time for the child and be there just to assure that all is still well in the family and the child is still loved.
Get professional help: It is essential to seek medical advice from doctors and therapists. You must accompany your child to the sittings. Therapists tend to give very handy advice on not only how to take care of the child but also yourself in this situation.
Get your teen to spend time in positive ways: Taking up a part time job, joining his favorite sport team, going on a family vacation; think of all ways of how you can keep him busy and happy.
Take help from school, friends and extended family: There is no use hiding the addiction problem from near and dear ones. Instead let them know and get them involved in helping you to get him busy in positive ways. Meet and spend time with parents facing similar challenges and build a support group of your own. This will help your teen understand that this has not happened to your family alone and everyone cares enough to find a way out.
Be very patient: Recovery from addiction is a long term and at times a lifelong event. Constantly working on how to keep your teen busy and drug free, missing your appointments for his therapy, dealing with his mood swings and addiction relapses will at times be very exasperating. Yet, no matter what the situation you will have to deal with it patiently and consistently for the sake of your loved one.
It is very necessary for teenage parents to develop and maintain a very open and friendly relationship with their children, so that children feel comfortable discussing their problems. If, instead of supporting and listening to your child you get angry and rebuke them, they will with time stop discussing their problems with you.
Most importantly give yourself the much needed break in between and refresh your mind so that you are able to be there for your child fresh and cheerful always.