Teen addicted

What to do if you discover that your teen is on drugs?

It may be shocking to learn that your child is on drugs. Maybe you found something while doing the laundry, maybe you got a call from the school, or maybe you heard a rumor. Now you need to find out the extent of the problem and what to do about it.

Do not panic

One thing you don't want to do is panic and yell at your child. That only makes matters worse. No matter how angry you are, you want what's best for your child and acting out of anger isn't the best solution at such times.

Do some research

Find out what you're dealing with. Is the marihuana? Is the cocaine? Heroin? MDMA? What is it and what does it do? Investigate the dangers, the withdrawal symptoms, and the treatment options for addiction. The more you know, the more constructive your conversation will be. Investigate the signs of addiction and see if they apply to your child. For example, has she been secretive, changed friends or personality?

Discuss it with the other parent

Discuss how you want to proceed. You may have different ideas about how serious the problem is. Try to agree on what to do. Emphasize that acting out of anger is counterproductive. Show a uniform front when talking to your child.

Choose a good time to talk to your child

Nobody wants to be cornered. If you can, choose a time when there are minimal time constraints or other stressors. Even if you prepare well, choose the perfect time, and say the right things, this will not be a pleasant conversation. Be prepared for this and stay calm.

Be willing to listen

The natural tendency is to emphasize how angry and disappointed you are, to talk about how dangerous and irresponsible drugs are, and so on. Your child probably already knows. The important thing to remember is that drug use is rarely serious drug use. Teens often experiment with drugs out of curiosity, and that may be the case with your child. But if it's more serious, you have to find out. Your child may be dealing with depression or anxiety. There may be another problem that you are not aware of. Give your child space to talk and leave the door open for future conversations.

Be supportive but firm

Some form of discipline may be necessary. Addressing that problem and punishing bad behavior are not mutually exclusive.