If you have a teen that you believe is participating in teenage substance abuse, then you need to take immediate action and deal with the issue. This is extremely important because teens who experiment and abuse various substances are not only a threat to themselves, but their actions may put many more people in harm’s way too. Although, the primary reason you, as a parent, should be confrontational about teenage substance abuse is to get your teen the help he or she needs to get off this destructive path.
So, exactly what should you do if you suspect your teen is displaying signs of teenage substance abuse? There are several things that you may need to do in order to help get the problem under control. The list below provides you with the most common options available for parents dealing with teenage substance abuse. However, there are other not-so-common techniques that can be used as well.
- Know and Understand the Signs and Symptoms: First, if you suspect that your teen is abusing drug, alcohol, medications, etc. then you need to do your homework and research the signs and symptoms of teenage substance abuse. You need to know all the signs associated with this problem and thoroughly understand them before you are prepared to confront your teen.
- Document Specific Instances: Once you know the signs associated with teenage substance abuse, it’s time to start building a case against your teen. While this sounds harsh, the truth is that people with substance abuse problems, especially teens, are experts at denial. So, you need to start monitoring your teen more closely (without his/her knowledge) and document specific instances when specific symptoms are displayed. If you find evidence of teenage substance abuse, take pictures of it and confiscate it. After all, you are the parent.
- Confront Your Teen: Once you’ve documented specific instances of teenage substance abuse signs displayed by your teen and/or have evidence of proof, it’s time to confront your teen. When you confront your teen regarding this issue, it’s vital that you do so in a loving non-judgmental way. You don’t want your teen to immediately be put on the defensive. And, it’s a good idea to wait until your teen begins trying to deny that anything is going on before you present them with your documented and/or confiscated evidence.
- Seek Professional Help: Finally, if you’ve confronted your teen about the issue and no changes are made by your teen, it’s time to get professional help. While you will not feel like a “good” parent for taking your teen to get professional help for teenage substance abuse, it is actually the best thing you can do for them. Otherwise, your teen may become an addict and continually fight to regain control over the addiction for the rest of his/her life, which is far worse than the bad feeling you have dealing with the problem now.