When parents discover their teenager is experimenting with drugs, your first reaction is probably to get very angry and threaten all kinds of punishments. However, that’s not the most productive way to deal with the problem, and will most likely push your teenager to experiment further and just be more careful not to get caught. To really communicate with your teen about drugs, you need to act like the adult you are and have an open discussion about drug use and how it influences people’s lives in a real, raw way.
As soon as you discover that your teenager has tried drugs, avoid the urge to get angry. It’s OK to communicate disappointment and even frustration, but a yelling match is never going to be beneficial to either you or your teen.
Your teen will probably be hesitant to talk to you about their experimentations with drugs, so you need to create a safe environment for them to share thoughts and feelings without being judged. Focus on what they are saying, ask appropriate questions and really listen to what they are saying.
Teens have a number of different reasons for experimenting with drugs, and as a parent, you need to find out why so that you can help them understand the serious consequences. Some teens do it because they are curious or because of peer pressure, while others use drugs as an escape from stress or frustration. Still others turn to substance abuse when they have serious mental health, behavioral or emotional issues that they can’t deal with. Once you discover the motivation behind the drug use, you can help them learn healthy coping skills and be stronger next time.
Share Your Stories
Many people experimented with drugs in their younger days, and it may go a long way if you confess to your teen that you have experience in experimentation, too. It will give you more credibility in their eyes that you know what you are talking about. You can even share your motivations for trying drugs, and what lessons you learned.
Once the lines of communication have been opened and you’ve discovered why your teen turned to drugs, you can educate yourself about what to do about it. The more you are your teen learn about drugs and their effects on lives, both short-term and long-term, the stronger you both will be. If your teen needs professional help to work through some issues, then find a therapist that specializes in adolescent psychology.
Every parent worries about their kids when it comes to drug use and abuse, but the way you handle yourself once you discover your teen is experimenting will set the standard on how much they listen to you and work with you to change their habits.