It can be shocking and overwhelming when you discover that your son or daughter is into illegal drugs. Why is he doing this? How come I didn’t see it? What will happen to my daughter now? Will my son be charged will illegal drug possession? Is my son going to jail? These are the questions that are plaguing your mind right now, and it’s understandable. How can a parent handle something this terrible?
You have to intervene as soon as you learn about your child’s involvement with illegal substances. It cannot be ignored and must not be left unnoticed. But revealing to your child that you know his or her vice can make or break your child’s life after that. There are certain things you need to do before and during the “big reveal” to facilitate a better road afterward for your child. Navdeep Kang, PsyD notes that “The first step was to understand that our goal was to mainstream addiction treatment into the general delivery of health care.”
You must speak to your husband or wife about this issue.
During this critical time, you and your spouse must be on common ground. Don’t fight and stop blaming each other for what happened to your child. It is not your fault as a parent if your child uses drugs; unless you were the one who handed the drugs to your child, then, that’s a different story.
Moving on, you have to make a decision regarding your child and stick to that, as one. Never bad-talk each other especially in front of your child. You two must always be united. Also, remind yourselves that you are doing this out of love; therefore, your actions must be directed towards it.
Look for evidence that your child is indeed using drugs.
You need to do this so that when the family conference is up, there is “show and tell.” Your child may say that you’re a hypocrite especially if he or she knows that you’ve done drugs when you were younger or until now. The best way to answer this is – “That’s why I don’t want you to use drugs because I know what it does to the brain and body. It will kill you.”
As for evidence, you can search them in your child’s room, and here are some suggestions:
– All kinds of drawers in his or her room (inside and under the slots)
– Boxes, especially small ones
– Anywhere in the bed, especially the corners or holes
– Room plants
– In between book pages
– Underneath floorboards
– OTC bottles
– Soda Cans
– Empty candy bags
There will probably be shouting from your child’s end and anger too, but you have to stay calm.
Your child will deny that he or she is using drugs. Don’t believe your child because you know better. Instead, stay calm and talk to your child in a composed manner. Tell your child that you are concerned about his or her health, and the reason you’re doing this is that you love him or her. If the conversation is going nowhere, take a break, and pick it up after an hour or so. Don’t give up on your child.
Listen to your child as he or she explains the situation.
Some kids will say that they’re using and what they need it for something. Well, Dr. Howard Samuels, PsyD said, “Admitting you have a problem is the first step in treating your addiction. However, due to the nature and the danger of this disease, simply just stopping on your own is highly unadvisable.” Don’t ever reprimand your child if he or she says that to you. What you can do is listen to what your child will say and let him or her finish. If you have questions in mind, write it down before the conversation. It must be regular and non-insinuating questions. The goal here is for your child to open up to you so you can resolve the drug-using issue. Don’t react poorly. Stay calm all throughout.
Ask your child for a favor – to seek professional help.
According to Hailey Shafir, LPCS, LCAS, CCS-I, “Addiction is a non-medical term that refers to a wide range of mental disorders called Substance Use Disorders. There are a variety of different types of Substance Use Disorders, including Alcohol Use Disorder, Stimulant Use Disorder, and Cannabis Use Disorder, just to name a few.” If you show understanding to your child, he or she may consider getting professional help. Drug addiction can be treated with great success, and kids can fully recover from its extreme effects. If you talk nicely to your child, he or she may listen and agree with you.
Now, even if you are calm and understanding, some children may be defiant. On the first conversation, give him or her a bit of space, let’s say overnight to think about your “help” talk. And if he is a minor, you can always set rules at the house like he or she is not allowed to go out other than school, no cutting classes or else you will resort to police help, no gadgets to call “friends” (or dealers), and so on.
Push your child to a drug intervention program before it’s too late.
Easier said than done, but it’s the only thing that can save your child now. This program is the help that we are talking about here, and for kids whose neck-deep, rehab and therapy may be the best solution.