Some teens have experimented with prescription and recreational drugs without becoming addicted or suffering other negative consequences. But, they aren’t the norm. For numerous others, the addiction kicks in after the very first time they use. For these teens, drug use leads to problems with home, school, work, relationships, shame, helplessness and isolation.
As a parent, you’re always worried about teen peer pressure that could lead to using drugs. And, if you find that your teen is using, it’s your parental responsibility to get him the help he needs fast. The best way to help your teen is to become educated about the warning signs and steps to take to guide your teen into living a drug free lifestyle.
Warning Signs Your Teen May Be Addicted to Drugs
As noted above, every single teen who experiments with drugs doesn’t become addicted. Many go on to live normal, healthy adult lives without ever trying drugs again. Teens who start using drugs early in life, however, are at much higher risk of developing serious drug addictions. They risk the chances of becoming addicts, and abusing drugs more and more over time.
This risk increases during times of stressful transitions, such as parents divorcing, moving to a new neighborhood or changing schools. The trick, as a parent, is to learn to decipher the differences between the normal, moody ups and downs of “teenhood” and the signs of drug abuse. Here are some of those signs which should raise red flags in your mind:
- Dilated or Bloodshot Pupils – If your son uses eye drops quite often, he’s probably trying to mask what his eyes are trying to tell you
- Issues with School – This could be a sudden drop in grades, starting to ditch classes or getting into trouble quite frequently at school
- Items Disappearing – Missing prescriptions may mean your son is taking your pills. Missing valuables and/or money could mean he’s stealing to support his drug habit.
- Change in Personality – Your once happy, friendly teen is now very depressed, angry, withdrawn and/or isolated
- Drastic Change in Friends – All of a sudden, your teen has dropped old, dedicated friends, for a new peer group that gives you the creeps
- Demands Privacy – Teen begins sneaking around, avoiding making eye contact with you and locking doors
5 Steps to Guiding Your Teen towards a Drug Free Lifestyle
- Set Rules & Consequences – There are specific consequences that come with using drugs. You need to make sure your teen understands what your rules are, and the consequences for breaking them. And, never set rules you’ll can’t or won’t enforce.
- Stay on Top of Teen Activity – Teens should get more freedom as they get older. But, keep in mind that teens are not adults yet. You are the parent. Therefore, you are responsible for his actions. Hold onto a bit of parental control by monitoring who he hangs out with and where he goes. And, check possible hiding places for drugs, like his backpack, in DVD cases, bookshelves, etc…
- Encourage Social Activities & Interests – Make sure to expose your teen to various healthy activities and hobbies, such as after-school clubs, sports, choir, band, etc…
- Get to the Root of the Problem – Teem drug use is generally the result of bigger underlying issues. Talk to your teen to try to figure out what’s bothering him… divorce, fitting in, academic competition, a move, change in schools, etc…
- Seek Professional Help – Therapeutic programs are very effective when it comes to discovering underlying issues that lead to addiction. These programs also help with the addictions themselves. Programs like those provided by Liahona Academy can start guiding your teen to a drug free lifestyle today.