It’s every parent’s nightmare to accidentally stumble upon drug paraphernalia in their teens’ things. Suddenly, all the signs begin to make sense and they’ve run out of excuses to justify the changes in their teens’ behavior. When parents discover that their teens are using drugs, it’s extremely hard not to feel terrified and disappointed at the same time.
Teen drug use can happen even in teens with strong family backgrounds. Good teens can make bad choices too, and it’s very heartbreaking for parents to see young people throw their lives away because of drug abuse. The pain that this brings to the family can oftentimes be overwhelming.
What can parents do when they see their teens make horrible choices like this? Controlling your teen’s actions is not just impossible, it also doesn’t work. You can lock your teen up in his/her room all day and it won’t make a difference in changing his/her decision-making patterns. There are, however, things that parents can do to control their own actions and exert influence in their own household.
My House, My Rules
You can’t control what your teen decides to do, but you can control what relates to your actions and your decisions. Doing this has some impact on your teen’s drug habit. It may be a bit confusing for parents to figure out how to be supportive of their teen while drawing clear boundaries, but it’s during these times that parents have to dig their heels in and be firm about what they will and won’t do for their teens.
You can tell your teen, “I am not trying to tell you what to do, I will not fight and argue with you anymore. I am simply going to do what I know is best in my household. If you will continue to use drugs, I will not drive you anywhere, I will not give you money, I will not give you access to your phone. I am not doing this because I hate you, I am doing this because I love you and I am willing to do anything to keep you safe.”
If your teen is using his/her allowance to buy drugs, refuse to fund his drug habit. Make lunch that he/she can bring to school, pay for projects and school fees through check, go with him/her to buy clothes and other things he/she needs. You may need to tell your other relatives not to give your teen money because he/she may just use it to buy drugs.
There is a difference between drug abuse and drug addiction, and it’s important for parents to familiarize themselves with this in order to know what appropriate actions to take for the safety of their teens.
When teens begin engaging in dangerous activities like drinking and driving, driving while high, stealing, assaulting others, cutting themselves, and similar acts, it’s time for more aggressive intervention.
Signs That Your Teen Needs to be in Drug Rehab
There are cases when teens are just starting to experiment with drugs and the habit can be stopped by setting clear boundaries and rules at home. There are also instances when drug abuse has resulted to drug addiction and parents are unable to help their teens stop using drugs anymore. What are the signs that teens need to be admitted into rehab? Here are a few:
Physical Dependence – When teens develop an addiction to drugs or alcohol, they show a physical dependence to it. When they are unable to “score”, they experience withdrawal symptoms. In essence, their brain interprets their need for drugs as the same with the body’s need for food and water.
Lifestyle Changes – When teens are addicted or beginning to be addicted to drugs, they change their friends, the way that they dress, and the places they hang out at to fit their drug use.
Increased Frequency of Use – When your teen uses drugs more often (they appear high more frequently), they have stepped up the frequency of their drug use and are unable to stop. It begins to show in their health and appearance, as well as their performance in school.
Getting your teen to rehab
Some teens are ready to accept that their drug habit is a problem that they cannot resolve on their own. Some will vehemently resist treatment. It may help to give them an option of either spending at least 1-2 months in a treatment facility or 18 months (maybe more) in a residential treatment center. In extreme cases, some parents may even ask for escorts to pick up their children and take them to rehabilitation centers.
When drugs get in the picture, parents must make difficult decisions for their teens which will strain relationships. With the drug-induced haze in their mind, they may not initially understand or accept what you are doing, but parents must be parents during these times.
Teen drug addiction can drive teens to do things they wouldn’t usually do, and many times, parents are not sufficiently equipped to deal with this alone.