Discussing drugs and alcohol is not a one-time scenario. Talks can happen during long drives, dinner time, or whenever appropriate. When discussing, make sure to give your teen your full attention and listen to what they have to say. Ask open-ended questions to get your child to think critically. Finally, let them know you are a safe person to come to for advice or help in intense situations.
Symptoms of drug abuse can vary by the substance. However, general signs to look for include slipping grades, loss of interest in activities, diminished hygiene, and unusually secretive behavior. If you notice these signs, the best way to address the issue is to communicate openly and directly. Simply asking “has anyone ever offered you drugs?” can go a long way to start a conversation.
If you have concrete evidence or your child openly admits to drug use, the last thing you should do is lash out. Even though your teen might react emotionally, remain calm in order to get to the root of the problem. Instead, explain how much you care about your child and how drug use can impact their future. Supported teens are less likely to continue drug and alcohol use.
Before confronting your teen, choose your new rules or consequences in advance. Choose boundaries you are capable of enforcing and explain to your teen why they must follow the new guidelines and what they ultimately achieve.