As a parent, one of your worst fears is that your son will be tempted to experiment with drugs. Between the peer pressure of friends, wanting to look cool, acting rebellious, using it as an escape, and plain old curiosity, many teenagers fall victim to the temptation that alcohol and drugs exude. If your son has become addicted to a substance, the first thing you need to do as a parent is seek help for him. Young adults who are abusing drugs like to keep their addiction secret.
With teens, it is critical that action is taken quickly. Many habits that he will keep for years are formed during this pivotal age, and as a parent, you want to steer him toward healthy choices and away from the harmful ones. Many teenagers have the tendency to feel indestructible at their age and do not realize the consequences of their habits; it’s up to you to enlighten them.
Where Do I Begin?
If you believe your teenage son is doing drugs, then you can no longer take a passive roll in his life. But first, you must calm yourself down. No doubt this is an unpleasant and possibly shocking situation to find yourself in, but before you confront your son, you must relax and find a state of levelheadedness. You don’t want to begin a delicate conversation such as this while feeling let-down or irate.
Talk to your spouse about it; that way both of you are on the same page of understanding and can come to an agreement on how you will handle the situation. However, stop the sharing there. It is important that you don’t go around talking about your son’s personal situation to everyone. This is a very private affair and such things should be kept between the three of you. Finally, when you know that your son has the time to sit down and talk and is not currently under the influence, initiate conversation about his habit.
How Should I Approach It?
First, don’t make it a super structured or formal situation. Teenagers are often wary when parents bring up serious topics, such as drug and alcohol abuse. They may feel as if they are being judged or attacked. This can cause emotions to flare and tempers to rise. Expect a range of emotions from your child, from anger, to guilt, to straight up denial.
It might be incredibly frustrating to watch your own child hurt themselves with their addiction, but whatever you do, do not resort to yelling, name-calling, threatening, etc. You have to be the supportive, caring, and wise parent. You’re the one whose goal is to make his life a better place, and your job is to be cool and calm. This involves really listening to him; don’t brush off his feelings or reasons for doing drugs as trite or naïve. If he is willing to open up to you, you better be ready to give him unconditional love and the best listening ear. Don’t let him bait you into saying something out of anger or spite. If the conversation does begin to heat up, walk away for a while and let both of you cool down before continuing.
What Should I Say?
Start off telling him that you love him and care about his well-being, and that’s why you are taking the time to discuss his addiction. Ask him straightforward and directly if he is doing drugs. Whether or not he tells you the truth, it is your job to lay out for him exactly why you have an issue with drug use. Tell him about the various negative health issues abuse can cause. Provide him with an education on the matter. They will want concrete reasons why drugs are bad for them.
Explain to him the seriousness that comes with breaking the law and punishments that can come from it if he is caught, both short-term and long-term. If his grades are dropping, if his personal relationships are falling apart, if he cannot keep a job, or if there is another detrimental happening in his life due to drugs, tell him how it will affect him in the future and how it affects those that are around him. Many times the haze of drug or alcohol abuse can make it difficult for the user to see the negative effects of their habit. These unsavory occurrences can include unsafe sex while under the influence, reckless driving, and a decrease in mental capacity.
Following this, you also have to spell out the family rules and the consequences for breaking them. Make sure that there are fair expectations in place and equally fair punishments. And then in turn, be 100% sure you are ready to enforce them. Be sure not to point fingers or assign blame; that is a game that no one benefits from.
Your son may ask you about you own drug use, and the jury is split about what to say. Some believe it’s best to be honest, others think that only becomes a justification for your child. And so face this decision on a personal basis; if you think one is more beneficial than the other, then make sure you stick with it. Just make sure that no matter which tactic you select, your child knows that their behavior isn’t acceptable.
At the end of the conversation, reiterate that you love him and that you are there for his support. Let him know that you are available to talk to him whenever he has a problem. Knowing that his parents are available and are not going to automatically condemn him will make your son that much more open about his issues.
What Comes Next?
While it may seem tempting to go through his room looking for paraphernalia or read text messages on his phone in order to find absolute proof, one thing you shouldn’t start off doing is infringing on his personal space. By going through his private sphere, you are sending off a message that tells him that you don’t trust or respect him and don’t care about his privacy. Instead, simply encourage him to be open and honest with you, and let him know that you are there whenever they feel like talking. Also, avoid talking to him in absolutes about his drug abuse. Instead of saying, “I forbid you to hang out with John because he smokes pot,” try “I would prefer it if you hung out with other friends besides John.”
As a parent, it is your job to do research about which treatment option will be best for your child. It is unlikely that your teenager will take an active part in choosing what kind of rehabilitation center he wants to go to, as he may believe that his habit isn’t something he needs help with. However, at his age, it is unlikely that he will be able to fully kick his habit without treatment.
Having an expert in the addiction treatment field guiding him towards sober living, gives him someone to depend and rely on when things start seeming difficult. Going to rehab will also provide him with access to detoxification, educational resources that will help him learn how to live a more fulfilling life without drugs, and life skills training to arm him with the tools he needs for success. Here at DrugRehab.org we are available to answer questions about what types of treatment are best for your son and any queries about payment. All you have to do is contact us today.