-Mayah Taylor, MA
Addiction can be a terrible disease and such a hard one to break away from. It can be even more challenging when it hits home. For parents, discovering or just simply suspecting that your child may be addicted to drugs is one of the worst fears a parent has. Once you have your suspicions, your next question may be “What do I do if my child is using drugs?”
The first thing to do is to take a deep breath, try to stay calm, and think. Begin to prepare yourself for the tough conversation ahead with your child. To prepare for the conversation, gather as much evidence as you can to support your suspicions. This will involve going into your child’s room and going through their things. Some parents may have reservations about violating their child’s privacy, however, with such a serious situation with serious consequences going through your child’s things and their room is absolutely necessary and imperative. Remember you are doing this to ultimately help your child and not to harm them.
This is no easy conversation to have. Remember to stay calm throughout this process, showing anger and lashing out will only make things work. More importantly, your child may not want to be honest and forthcoming if they see your anger. Anticipate pushback responses from your child like “I was just holding on to it for someone else. It’s not mine.” Ultimately communication is key. It is important that when talking to your child regarding your suspicions, you remember to avoid coming from a place of confrontation. You want to be sure to keep the lines of communication open with your child. Understand that your child may be in a very fragile state and this is a sensitive, delicate topic to discuss with them. Be sure to explain in the least confrontational manner the consequences and risk of drug use. If you know your family has a history of drug addiction, it can be useful when having a conversation with your child about the risks of drug addiction as well as give real-life examples of how destructive it can be.
If your suspicions have been confirmed or if you are still not sure if your child has an addiction problem, it may be best to seek the help of a trained professional experienced with substance abuse. Remember that you do not have to tackle this subject alone. There are many resources out in the community to assist you in finding help and support for your child.
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