Drug abuse is on the rise for many teenagers in the United States because the drugs are so readily available to them. Many parents want to protect their teens from drug addiction, but don’t know what steps to take to protect them. Fortunately, there are things that you can do to diminish the chances of your child becoming addicted to drugs. The following guide can be used as a checklist to better the likelihood of your child avoiding drugs in the future.
Educate Yourself about Drug Abuse
The first thing you need to do is educate yourself about drugs. You need to learn what different drugs are, how to identify them, what the signs of use are and what paraphernalia looks like. Educating yourself about the signs of drug use make it easier to notice if your child exhibits them. Dilated pupils, a change in attitude, a sudden disinterest in things they love to do and even isolation are all signs of drug use.
Educate yourself about how the drugs can affect the body and what the consequences are if someone is caught with the drugs in the possession or purchasing them. This allows you to be better prepared when you talk to your children about drug use. It’s often better to educate them than intimidate them into abstaining from drugs.
Educate Your Child About Drug Abuse
When children are in school, they are often taught about drugs at an early age. They are taught how dangerous and harmful they can be, but as they get older the lessons become distant memories in their mind. Teenagers often feel that they are invincible and that they know everything there is to know about life. This can make them think that they can try different drugs without having to worry about getting addicted to them or having anything bad happen. This isn’t the case. Even trying a drug one-time can lead to a drug abuse problem.
When you educate your children about drug abuse, you need to talk to them openly and honestly. Be willing to answer the questions that they have truthfully. You should have facts to back up any statements that you make. You want to be sure that they know that there are instant repercussions that could occur when they use such as overdosing, being attacked or even having an allergic reaction to the drugs.
Be patient when you speak to them. It’s important to remember that they may have their friends influencing them and telling them something different than you are telling them. Threatening them with serious consequences if they are caught using drugs could cause them to simply work harder to hide drug use from you. You want to be sure that your children feel comfortable talking to you about anything that happens in their life.
Know Your Child’s Friends
As a parent, it’s important to try to know what your teen is doing at all times. One of the most important things you can do is get to know your child’s friends and their families well. Many children learn habits from their parents. Getting to know your child’s friends’ parents allows you to assess the likelihood that one of their friends may have access to drugs or may be using drugs themselves. Children who are around drugs are more likely to use drugs themselves. If you feel that a friend of your child is using drugs, try to limit the interactions that your child has with the person until they are clean. You don’t want the person to be able to persuade your child to use drugs.
Create an Action Plan
Your child cannot be in your sight at all times. When they are out and about, there will be times when situations will arise where they may be offered drugs. If they feel uncomfortable, there needs to be a way for them to leave the situation. Consider creating a system where your child can text you a message that no one else will be able to decipher if something is wrong. You can then call them to say you have a family emergency and need to come and pick them up. This allows your child to get out of the situation without the people they are around thinking that they are uncomfortable or keep pushing them to use.
Do not ask them a ton of questions when you pick them up. Make sure that they are okay and let them know that you are available to talk if they want to. They obviously are making the right decisions so pressuring them to tell you what happened could cause them to avoid texting you in the future.
Look for Signs of Use Regularly
It’s important to know that even the best of kids can abuse drugs. You need to be sure to continually check to make sure that your child isn’t using. Be sure to look in their room for signs of drug use regularly. There are some forms of drug paraphernalia that are designed to look like everyday objects that you find in your daily life. Some smoking devices are designed to look like USBs, some look like tubes of lipstick and some can even look like pens. Educating yourself about what paraphernalia looks like makes it easier to spot the devices when you see them.
If you think that your child is using drugs, the first thing you need to do is create a plan for talking to them. You want to come across as being supportive rather than accusatory. Be sure you show worry instead of anger. Your child will not open up to you that they have a drug abuse problem if they feel that you are going to be angry at them. If they admit they do have a problem, take them to get help right away. They may need to go to a drug treatment center for an extended period of time to get away from the temptations around them and the stress of their everyday life. They will learn skills at the center that they can use to avoid using again when they get out.
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