We Need to Talk About Tyrone: What to Do If Your Teenager Is Using Drugs
By Features Desk
Tuesday, July 25, 2016.
For some parents, it’s the ultimate nightmare. For others, it’s an inevitability that they were preparing for. In any case, it’s no longer a rarity that a parent discovers their child has been using drugs.
It’s important to handle this situation sensitively. Check out this guide.
There are a lot of parents out there who would hit the roof if they were to discover their child is using drugs. But getting too angry isn’t going to do anyone any good here. A parent’s anger isn’t going to “scare” them out of doing drugs. You need to be more nuanced in your approach.
Don’t blame yourself
Don’t beat yourself up about this. You shouldn’t assume that your child is using drugs because they’re in some despair that was caused by you. Even attempts to educate them about the dangers from a young age will usually be overtaken by the messages from peers anyway. There are a lot of reasons why a teenager would start using drugs. Ultimately, few of them are in your direct control.
Think about other family members
How are other family members going to react if they hear about this? It’s possible that you’ve found out about this and are able to keep a clear head. Maybe you’ve found some marijuana in your son’s possession. Let’s say you’re confident that you can handle the situation calmly. Maybe you’re not even angry. But another family member may be uncontrollably angry and complicate the situation. Don’t assume that anyone else but you and your child needs to be involved.
Consider the drug in question
There are many parents out there who seem to consider all drugs to be the same. Even those who don’t may assume that the “soft” drugs will definitely lead to the “hard” drugs. You shouldn’t approach this as simply “your child using drugs”. Your approach should be appropriate to the drug in question. If they’re drinking a lot of alcohol, you need to highlight the dangers that exist despite the legality. If they’re smoking marijuana, you may want to take a “wait till you’re older” approach. If hard narcotics are being used, then more extreme measures may need to be taken.
Get help if trouble with the law has already occurred
Unfortunately, many parents don’t find out this sort of thing in a way that allows them to deal with it directly. In an ideal world, it would always be dealt with by the parent first. But many parents will find out because their child has been arrested for use or possession! If this occurs, you may want to look into getting a criminal defense attorney.
Talk to your child
This is the most important thing. You need to have a loving, understanding conversation with your child. Many parents assume that teenagers won’t absorb the things that their parents say to them. Because of this assumption that their words will just “bounce off”, parents can end up taking missteps here. Ask them why they’re using whatever drug they’re using. Open up a dialogue about how it makes them feel. Make sure they know about the health risks inherent in even the “softer” drugs.