What to Do When You Discover Your Teen Is Using Drugs
High school drug use statistics are clear on the facts of teenage substance abuse: a lot of teens are experimenting with drugs. It’s a dangerous assumption to make that your teen would never do it. Any teen is susceptible to the urges to experiment and the pressure to try drugs, but if you discover your teen has been using drugs, it can come as quite a shock. Knowing what to do next is not always obvious.
Remain Calm With Your Teen
The first and most important thing to remember when you make this unsettling discovery is to remain calm. Your instinct may be to fly off the handle and start berating your child for doing something so stupid or to fall apart and start crying, but it’s better to stay calm. A teen’s go-to reactions to an overly-emotional parent are to clam up, shout back or avoid.
Deal With the Issue Immediately
Remaining calm does not mean that you shouldn’t deal with the situation right away; you just need to do it in a calm and rational way. Waiting to figure out what to do is a mistake. When it comes to drug abuse, time is an important factor. If you don’t confront your teen right away, he may keep using and end up with an addictive disorder. Parenting addicted teens is far more of a challenge than dealing with drug abuse early. You have the chance to avoid bigger problems by dealing with this now.
Set Boundaries Now
Your first order of business is to put some strict boundaries in place to ensure that your teen won’t be using again. Talk to him about expectations and that any kind of drug use or drinking is unacceptable. Set rules for when he can go out, how late he can stay out and, if necessary, with whom he can spend his time. It could be that he picked up his drug experimentation from one particular friend or group of friends.
Get Professional Help If Needed
If your teen has already passed the stage of experimentation and has developed some degree of drug addiction, you need to seek professional help for him. Drug counselors or therapists are an option on an outpatient basis, but teen drug rehab is also a possibility. If you’re not sure he can get sober and stop using while still being at school and around friends, a residential rehab designed for treating teens could be the best solution.
Finding out your teen has been using drugs is devastating. Before you panic, though, think rationally and take these steps to nip the problem in the bud. Stats about teen substance abuse demonstrate that the majority of teens have experimented with some kind of drug. Don’t make the mistake of assuming your teen could never be one of them. By always being aware of drug use as a possibility, you give yourself the chance to catch it early and provide your teen with the help and boundaries that he needs.