According to a survey, most parents miss the warning signs that their teen is using drugs. Until the obvious occurs – such as an arrest or trouble in school, teens have become adept at hiding the truth from their parents. While this is not a new skill by any means, it is one that takes a great deal of planning and lying – all of which can be noticed by the parent who is paying attention.
In today’s world, parents often return to work when their kids hit middle school. Perhaps they feel that affording college and finally having a double working household is the best way to keep up with the Jones’s, but the thinking is ironic. When our children are little the biggest idea of trouble is forgetting to turn in a homework assignment or biting a classmate on the playground. Yet we don’t let them out of our sight for even a second. Then suddenly, when unwanted pregnancies, drug abuse, failing grades and peer pressure become the bane of your teens existence, mom and dad are often blissfully unaware – toiling away the day to provide a better life for their children. No one can be blamed for wanting to pursue a living, however if you choose to work outside the home and are raising teens you have a lot to remain aware of in today’s technological age.
The signs your teen is using drugs are often more obvious than you think. More often than not, a simple scan of emails, chat rooms, or text messages will give their habits away. If you aren’t sure what some of the sayings or abbreviations stand for, you can easily look them up in urban dictionaries available online. While many parents may feel that diving into their personal items is a breech of trust – the bottom line is that your child is a teenager. You should never trust too far or allow the leash to extend too far. As soon as they get a chance, they will take advantage of you and by then it might be too late. Look for text messages from kids you don’t know, emails from friends that seem to make no sense. Kids will use silly catch phrases to hide things like sexual encounters or drugs and alcohol experiences that they are having. If something seems out of place, chances are it is and you have to become one hell of a detective. The signs of teenage drug use can be clear in their communication with others if you know what you are looking for.
Other signs are the obvious such as drops in grades, new friends and a lack of passion for things that used to hold their interest. If your sports enthusiast son suddenly lacks any desire to show up for practice, you may want to suspect mono or drug use. If his friends of the past are nowhere to be seen and his new bunch seems a bit rough around the edges – this is a sign your teen might be using drugs. There is nothing wrong with getting to know your child’s friends, or to call other parents just to see what they are like. Look them up online and use any resource you have to see if these new children are coming from homes that feel like you do. If they don’t, forbid the friendships. Don’t allow your child to spend time at other people’s houses unless adults are present, and make sure you keep an open door policy at your own home (as long as you are there).
Other signs that your teen is using drugs include the sudden use of incense in their room or car. If they have been out in the garage and have suddenly become attracted to Yankee candles, it may be they are trying to hide drug, alcohol, or tobacco odors. If your teen is driving, you should check the vehicle often and thoroughly for bits and pieces of marijuana fragments or other paraphernalia that may be left behind. If they are on your insurance – they are taking advantage of you and around 85% of teens drink and use drugs while in their car. After all, where else can they go?
Look for changes in mood. While teenagers are moody, they are most often predictable and moody. If they become excessively moody or more interested in sleeping the days away, you should consider that something is going on. Use of mouthwashes is a sign as teens try to cover up their breath.
Drug use today is not just about street drugs, beer, or alcohol. Remember that as many as 78% of all teenagers use inhalants to get high. If you start seeing spray paint cans, extra bottles of hair spray or missing prescription drugs from your home – you should suspect your teen. Before you accuse, do your homework and investigate a little further to make sure you are right.
Most of the signs your teen is using drugs are obvious. Many parents can dismiss them because they do not want to believe that their child would make such a choice. Teens are also used to preying on the fact that mom and dad don’t want to admit to or believe their child has a problem. This form of manipulation can be easy to detect and although you would never want to believe your child is using drugs, in order to help them you have to admit it yourself.
Teenagers are definitely caught between adulthood and childhood. They may be as big as you are and act completely responsible, however they aren’t. They will make bad choices and many of them, which is why they need mom and dad to always remain aware of their behavior. The thing to remember is that YOU KNOW THEM BEST. No matter what they know about themselves, or what they claim – you have been with them for a great many years and should instinctively be aware when there is a problem. Use your own early warning system to prepare you and help you face some of the problems, including drug use that your teen might be facing.