Teen substance abuse remains a major problem throughout the United States (as well as the rest of the world). So, as a parent, it’s natural to have concerns that your child could one day go down this path.
Not only can teen substance abuse result in both physical and mental health concerns, but it may also lead to trouble with the law.
Answer These Frequently Asked Questions
While you hope that your teenager never gets mixed up with substance abuse, you never know what could happen. And for that reason, you should remain diligent while making yourself available to your child.
Here are some frequently asked questions you can answer, as they pertain to your particular situation:
1. When do children first begin to use drugs or alcohol?
There is no simple answer to this question, as it varies from one child to the next.
Unfortunately, children of today are experimenting with drugs and alcohol earlier than ever before. When you add in peer pressure, it’s easy to see why this remains such a big concern.
2. Why do teenagers use drugs and drink alcohol?
Once again, there isn’t a one size fits all answer. There are many reasons for abusing drugs and/or alcohol, including but not limited to:
- Their friends are doing it
- They see people in their family doing it
- To escape something else in their life, such as poor performance in school
- To fit in with the crowd
Knowing why your teen is using drugs or alcohol can help you pin down a treatment strategy.
3. Can substance abuse result in trouble with the law?
The short answer is yes. While there’s no guarantee that the police will catch your child violating the law, the possibility is always there
Depending on the crime, the punishment can be quite severe.
For example, selling drugs is more serious than simple possession. But even so, any trouble with the law—especially as it relates to drug or alcohol use—adds another layer of complexity to an already challenging situation.
4. What should you do if your teen is in trouble?
If you have any reason to believe that your child is abusing drugs and/or alcohol, it’s critical that you take action as a parent. Yes, this is difficult to do, but it’s much better than sitting back and assuming that things will get better.
Here are some of the many steps you can take:
- Ask your child if something is wrong
- Tell them that you’re concerned about their well-being
- Make it clear that they’re not in trouble and you simply want to help
- Look into checking them into a treatment facility
No two people are in the exact same situation, so there’s no simple answer to this question. However, if you take these basic steps, they’ll at least begin to move things in the right direction.
5. Is it possible for your teen to overcome their abuse?
Yes, it is. Don’t let anyone tell you that your child is “too far gone.” No matter what they’re up against, there’s always something you can do, someone who can help, and a treatment facility that’s willing to take them on as a patient.
The key to success is doing your part in providing direction. Your teen won’t overcome their substance abuse concerns overnight. It takes dedication and hard work, but it’s a possibility.
As they begin to make progress, you’ll come to find that the future is bright for them. Just make sure you continue to provide your child with guidance.
Substance abuse in teens is nothing to take lightly. Even if you think your teen will “grow out” of their problem, that doesn’t make it any better. You need to take action.
By answering the questions above, you’ll better understand what’s wrong with your child, what you can do to help, and how to avoid common mistakes that have plagued parents in your situation in the past.
This will be one of the biggest challenges you’ll ever face, but that shouldn’t stop you. You have the power to help your teen overcome their issue and regain full control of their life.