Lance Smith — As a parent, you may think that you know your child well. Although teenagers can be hard to read and may have emotional and hormonal changes that affect their behavior, you may still recognize signs of drug use and be suspicious that your child is involved in illicit activity. However, one of the worst things that parents can do is confront their children with just a suspicion and without the facts. Instead, use this guide to better understand what to do and how to react if you suspect that your child may be using drugs.
1. Start with your own home
Many parents get suspicious about their own children and potential drug use, but they fail to recognize what could be going on in their own home and how they might be helping illegal action take place. Keep your liquor or cigarettes locked away, as many teenagers will take advantage of having this available and may even exchange both items for illegal drugs. Make sure your home security is working correctly at night, if you have one, and do a deep clean of the house to ensure there are no drugs being stored on your property.
2. Check with school administration
Many students who are involved heavily in illegal drug use could be going out of their way to use drugs instead of attending classes at school. They might forge notes or make excuses, so ask school administration for an attendance record to track any changes and make sure you are aware of any late mornings or complete absences in the past few months.
3. Ask, don’t accuse
Rather than confronting your child about drug use in an accusing manner, calmly bring up the subject. You might be surprised at how much your child is willing to share if you keep calm. If they do share information with you, don’t get upset or act rashly, as this will only prevent your teen from making a close connection like this in the future.
4. Look for warning signs
If you speak to your child and they deny drug use, look closely for warning signs. Losing weight rapidly, pale skin, irritability, nervousness or any extreme mood changes may be signs of drug use. However, it is important to remember that adolescence is a time of big change, and not every physical or emotional change can be attributed to drug use.
5. Befriend their friends
The best way to understand more about your child is by meeting and befriending their friends. Offer to pick up or drop off your kids after a concert or a party, or ask to meet the parents of their close friends. If they are reluctant to introduce you, it might be embarrassment, but it may also be because your child has something to hide.
If, after taking all these steps, you are still convinced that your child is using drugs, then you may want to consider a drug test. Personal drug tests can be used at home and may be a way to alleviate your concerns or discuss the proof directly with your child.
About the Author