How to Confront the Problem

One of most parents’ worst nightmares is discovering that their teenage son or daughter is abusing drugs. Sadly, with prescription drug abuse becoming more and more popular amongst teens, even kids that would never touch illicit drugs like marijuana, ecstasy, or cocaine are experimenting with prescription drugs. Because they were prescribed by a doctor, many teens assume they are much safer to use. However, they can be just as dangerous as street drugs.

If you suspect, or know for a fact, that your teenager is abusing drugs, you may not be sure how to confront the problem. Rest assured, you certainly are not alone. Even if you feel you have a good relationship with your child, confronting a drug problem can feel like a daunting Pandora’s Box. But it is a conversation that absolutely must happen. No matter how reluctant or scared you feel, remind yourself that even if it doesn’t go well, a trip to the morgue to identify your child’s body due to a drug-related car accident or an overdose would be 100 times worse!

Perhaps you don’t feel afraid or reluctant, but rather unsure as to the best way to confront the issue. In any case, keep reading for helpful tips on how to address this serious problem with your teen.

Be proactive, not reactive. This is difficult for many parents. If you’ve just discovered that your teen is abusing drugs, you are likely feeling a wide range of emotions. Anger, sadness, disappointment, guilt, and fear are all common emotions for a parent to experience in this situation.

But even though those are all very normal feelings, you don’t want to confront your teen in reaction to those emotions. If you do, it will very likely rapidly escalate into an ugly interaction that will accomplish little except to put your teen on the defensive and make further conversation about the issue extremely difficult and unproductive.

Instead, you need to be proactive in your approach. Your number one priority is not your own feelings, but the welfare and safety of your child. No matter how disappointed and angry you may feel, you have to remember that even the best teens make bad decisions at times. Your role as a parent is to set appropriate limits, keep communication open, provide guidance, and help your teen make healthy choices.

Whatever you do, do not ignore the situation. If you suspect or know that your teen is abusing drugs of any kind, do not assume that it’s just a phase or minimize the seriousness of the situation. Denial and avoidance are not options for parents when it comes to teen drug abuse.