When you find out your child is taking drugs, it’s not only a stressful moment but a confusing one. You may feel angry, fearful, or even like you’ve failed as a parent. Naturally, you want to make them stop, but you may soon realize that addiction is a disease. Punishing them won’t help, and could even drive them away. So, what should you do? Here are some ideas to get you started.
5 Things to Do When You Discover Your Child is Taking Drugs (Image Credit Pexels)
Stay Calm and Try to Find Out More
Although your emotions will be all over the place, stay calm. If you’ve walked in on them or have found drugs in their room, take a walk, get some fresh air, then think of what to do next.
The calmer you are, the more likely your child will open up to you about their drug use. Children don’t like hurting or disappointing their parents. If they realize that you are angry or scared, they will be less likely to talk to you about their drug use.
Next, find out which drugs they use and how often. Your child may not volunteer all the information so try to find out independently. Talk to experts such as those at the Buckeye Clinic on what to look for and the behaviors to monitor.
Talk to Your Child About Their Addiction
Talk to the child about the consequences of abusing drugs, such as losing friends, jobs, and dropping out of school. The conversation will be difficult, and it might not go well at first, but try to understand their addiction and what led them to it.
Sometimes, they don’t even know why they started doing drugs. Other times, peer pressure and problems at home or school can lead to drug abuse.
Trauma and abuse can lead to drug abuse too. If this is the case, let the journey be an opportunity to heal by addressing the underlying issues rather than punishing them for the resulting behavior. Also, understand that you can’t make someone stop using drugs by punishing them.
As earlier stated, addiction is a disease. It needs to be treated medically and therapeutically with mental health interventions like therapy or rehab. Nevertheless, there are ways you can help your addicted teen without enabling their drug use. You can:
- Acknowledge that addiction isn’t about choice
- Reassure them that though they have made mistakes, there is still a chance to improve
- Discuss treatment options with your family doctor
- Seek professional help
- Offer support when they’re ready
Seek Professional Help
Many different treatment facilities specialize in addiction. Look for places that offer not only care, but understanding and empathy. The first thing experts will do is assess your child’s addiction level. Then, they will determine why the child started taking drugs and what their triggers are.
It might not be an easy journey, but it’s worth it. Get involved as much as you can, encourage them and offer support. Your presence and love may be all they need to make better decisions.
As you explore treatment options, get informed too. Gather as much information as you can on drug abuse with a focus on your child’s wellbeing. Seek help from support groups, talk to your doctor and therapist and read books. When informed, you’ll approach the issue with a lot of empathy rather than anger or resentment.
Watch for Changes as Treatment Commences
As your child starts the treatment plan, pay more attention to their behavior or response. Are they getting better? Do they need more support? It’s not easy to get over an addiction, but they can with your help. Some changes that indicate the treatment is working are:
- Improved appetite
- More engagement in family activities
- Remorse over their past behavior
- Willingness to continue with the treatment plan
- Open to positive criticism and support
- Readiness to suggestions that improve their future, such as going back to school
Your Child’s Addiction Is Not the End of the Road
As much as it’s a stressful experience, it doesn’t always spell doom. Your child can pick themselves up and become more responsible with the right treatment plan and support system. Have patience and follow the experts’ recommendations for long-lasting results.
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