Teenagers go through many changes (behavioral, physical, and emotional) as they approach their adult years. Along their journey, the chances are high that they’ll interact with drugs and alcohol. Conflicting reports have shown that this occurrence has decreased and increased. No matter which study is right, almost all people who suffer from addiction began using when they were younger than 18. This is the reason why it’s so important that you catch the signs of drug use in teens before it turns to addiction.
There are many signs that your child has turned to substance abuse. A few include acting withdrawn, appearing tired, showing signs of depression, and acting hostile. A lot of the time, these signs are overlooked or dismissed as just regular teenage behavior. Other signs that your child may have turned to drug abuse include a change in the people they hand out with, a decline in their grades, a lack of interest in things they care about, changes in their eating habits, and missing school. There are other reasons that your child may be acting strange, but whatever the reason you should communicate with them.
If you suspect substance abuse, you should know the effects that drugs can have your child. They negatively affect the brain, and the misuse of them can lead to a life of addiction. Don’t fear too much. There are resources throughout New Jersey that can help successful treat young people who abuse drugs. It’s your part to speak with your child and help them seek these treatments.
How to Approach Your Child?
The conversation that you have to have with your child will be one that’s uncomfortable for both sides. You have to breach subjects that you do not want to hear, and they do not want to tell. They will likely excuse you of distrust, deny things you know they did, reveal things that will shock you, and everything else in between.
Through this whole conversation, it’s important that you don’t react in anger, don’t let the emotions get in the way of progress, and if you can’t finish the conversation then seek out a counselor. During the process, remember to tell your child that you love them no matter what.
The conversation will go much more smoothly if you have a solution in mind. Don’t immediately try to push going to rehab on them. While your child probably will have issues quitting their habit right off the bat and will even deny doing any drugs, it’s good to express your concern and how you want them to use. When you establish a conversation with them you can start to set limits and boundaries.
When making these rules and consequences, don’t focus on making it pure punishment for your teen. Talk with them to help negotiate the appropriate response to when they break the rules set in place. Ensure that your partner is aware of the situation, the rules, and is on board with enforcing them. Most importantly, don’t set rules you know you won’t enforce.
The Resources You Need
Despite the decisions your teen has made, you need to show them support and be there for them. Parents have a huge impact on how their children view drugs and drug use. Your relationship with your child is the best way to prevent life-altering decisions in regards to substance abuse.
A few ways that you can influence your child’s behavior is being a good role model, creating a positive environment, having open communication, and knowing their friends. Being a good role model means that you don’t drink and smoke excessively. To create a positive environment, you need to reinforce good behavior your child exhibits and encourage a relaxing environment at home. Open communication with your teen means that you speak to them about everything. Finally, knowing who they’re friends with allow you to see what types of pressures they’re being put under. By no means should you control who your child is friends with, but you should voice your opinions if you feel someone is a bad influence.
For those who fear their child is suffering from drug addiction in NJ, check out the resources provided at SOBA College Recovery and other rehab facilities. At these places, you can find a number of treatments to help you and your teen deal with their drug abuse.