When it comes to the most challenging periods of life for many parents, they would agree that the most difficult period is their children’s teen age. This is the age when children are trying to find themselves, but also when they are under a lot of peer pressure as well as curious about many things, including drugs and alcohol. The important thing for a parent of a teenager is to approach the matter reasonably and in a calm manner. If you’re suspecting that your teenager might be using drugs, check out the following signs of teen drug abuse.
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Monitor your teen closely
If you want to find out whether your child is using drugs, you need to monitor them closely. Watch for any unusual behaviours, such as mood swings, changes of close friends, their appearance and scent. Many signs can show drug abuse. For example, when your teen comes back from a night out, wait for them and do a quick subtle odour check-up. Use your nose to check any unusual scent presence on their clothes, breath or hair. While you do that, always make small talk with your teen, ask them how the night out was, where they have been, with whom, and so on. In that way, you can check their brain activity and speech ability. If they haven’t used any drugs, the responses will be typical and if your teen speaks unclearly and too fast or slow, then you would probably have to address the issue further.
Always look your teen in the eyes
Pay attention to your teen’s eyes, especially when they come home from a night out with their friends. Eyes can tell you a lot; they show different signs of diverse drug use. For example, if your teen’s eyes are red and heavy-lidded with constricted pupils, it could be a sign of marijuana use. Bloodshot eyes can also be a sign of certain drug abuse.
Talk to your teen and if necessary, check them
It’s important to maintain healthy and rational communication with your teenager. That means being involved in their life, talking about different topics and sharing views. In that way, you get to know your child even more while they are growing up. And when you get to know them well, it is easier for you to spot any alarming changes in their behaviour and general attitude, which can be signs of some substance abuse. This kind of strong bond with your child enables you to ask them questions about using drugs directly, without hesitation. And assuming that the strong relationship you have is built on trust and honesty, your kid will want to be honest with you, out of respect. On the other hand, drug abuse can also lead to lying and deceiving, so that can be the case, too. If you think your teenager is lying about using drugs, you can simply buy a urine drug test and see it for yourself.
Watch out for secretive behaviour
You can easily notice changes in behaviour, especially if it’s secretive. When you notice that your extremely extroverted teen has become overly introverted for no apparent reason, or your introverted teen has become even more withdrawn, there might be something behind that kind of behaviour. Pay close attention if your teen is avoiding eye contact at all costs, stealing or misbehaving at school or work.
Monitor their physical appearance
Changes in physical appearance are usually when it comes to drug abuse. Of course, these will vary on the substance being abused. Some of the changes you need to look for include the already mentioned, bloodshot eyes, unexplained bruises and cuts, flushed cheeks, soot on fingers or lips or nosebleeds. Some other possibly alarming actions include constantly licking lips, shaking, careless personal hygiene or wearing long sleeves even when it’s hot outside.
What can you do to prevent drug use?
There are plenty of things you can do to prevent drug use. First of all, you need to stay involved in your child’s life. Be there for them, support them and love them. Be a good role model – show them with your behaviour how you expect them to behave. Meet their friends and maybe even their parents. Talk with your child if you think some of their friends have a bad influence on them. Set clear rules about using drugs, meaning what to do in situations when peer pressure to use drugs.
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your teenager and at the same time keeping an eye on them is an extremely difficult job. However, this is a crucial period for your teens, this is the time when they learn how to be good people and it’s highly important to monitor them and provide support and love.