As a parent you want nothing more than to keep your children safe in what is becoming and increasingly safe world, but this is not always easy. One of the dangers which worries all parents today is that of drugs and, while you would hope that your children would never take drugs in the first place, you need to know just what to do if the day comes that you suspect that your teenager is taking drugs.
The first thing you need to do is to tackle the problem head on and talk to your teenager, and the important word here is talk. Do not shout or scream and certainly do not start making any sort of accusations. Also, sit down and think carefully about what you are going to say and do not rush in and end up saying something that did not intend to say.
You do however need to be open and honest and not ‘beat around the bush’ or try to trick you child into a ‘confession’. Come right out and tell your teenager that you are concerned about him and are worried that he might be taking drugs. Then, go on to carefully explain just why you believe this is the case and cite specific examples which lead you to this belief. Detail the changes in his mood or behavior which are causing you concern or produce his falling school grades to demonstrate the reason for your concern. Explain carefully that if he is taking drugs then this is a problem which he needs to confront and deal with and that your objective is simply to help him, which you can only do if he tells you just what is going on. Finally, you should let him know, without threatening him in any way, that you are sufficiently concerned that, if he is not willing to talk to you, you will have to take further steps to get to the bottom of the problem.
If, at this stage, he does not open up to you then the next step is indeed to investigate further but do so carefully because, while they problem may indeed be drugs, it could also be something else entirely such as problems at school or with a friend.
Start at home by checking such things as your child’s room and car for any signs of drugs. Next, if you have a good relationship with some of your child’s friends then tell them that you are worried about your child and ask if they know what the problem is. You may well find a friend who knows exactly what is going on, does not agree with what your child is doing and is happy to tell you when asked.
If you are still in the dark at this point start checking up on your child so that you know exactly where he is at all times. This should also include checking the school register to ensure that he is not skipping classes. Also, make your child account for where his money is going. Feeding a drug habit is an expensive operation and your child will almost certainly be spending more and more money without anything tangible to show for it.
Eventually you will hopefully get to the root of the problem and, if it does turn out to be drugs, then the next question is what you should do once your suspicions are confirmed.
Because you have already talked to your child without success it will probably be a good idea at this point to bring in some outside professional help. This does not necessarily mean a drugs counselor at this stage but does mean someone who is used to handling problems of this nature and who is likely to receive a favorable, or at least not hostile, reaction from your child. A good starting point might be the family doctor or minister. The objective here could be for them to get to the root of the problem themselves or, if this does not happen, to act as a ‘go-between’ to get your child to agree to see a professional counselor.
If your own investigation does not confirm your suspicion, then turning to someone like your family doctor or minister, or indeed anyone who your child trusts or has a close relationship with, may also do the trick and your child could well open up to them even though he will not open up to you.
The prospect of your teenager getting into drugs can be terrifying but the secret to dealing with the problem is to stay calm, get to the root of the problem as quickly as you can and then get professional help.