Let’s face it, teens these days can be very hard to understand. We may have read all parental books published and we have taken every piece of advice that was given to us on how to become good parents, but still, we cannot stop our kids from doing what they want to do. We cannot even tell them which friends to have. Our teenagers have a life we don’t know about when they are out of our sight. Sometimes, we ignore the signs that our teens are developing drug problems thinking that their behavior is part of adolescence. This is one mistake that parents would dread to make.
Drug abuse among teenagers is already being dealt with by the law. Just finding drugs in their possession could mean disaster. It’s important that parents notice and know the real signs of addiction to stop the horrifying future they may face.
#1. Drug Paraphernalia
You may already have seen something in their bags that you are not familiar with but just dismissed it as something kids normally have these days. Drug paraphernalia often includes rolled papers or foil, lighter or matches, a burnt spoon, syringes, and little tube apparatus. We should learn to identify drug paraphernalia when we see one. Marijuana can be easily identified as it looks like grass. There is an ongoing debate if marijuana should be legalized or not but in any case, teenagers using marijuana are still a big no-no in our society.
These addictions often start with smoking. Hence, if you notice that your kids are smoking, you better find a way to stop them as early as possible.
#2. Poor School Performance
Every now and then, check how they behave and perform in school. Because you are not able to monitor your kids when they are out of the house, the best people to tell you how they are in school are their teachers. Most schools these days have programs to prevent, detect and solve drug abuse early on. They will be able to tell you if your kids to go to school or not. That will give you an idea that they are doing something else if they go out of the house every day but are not in school as often. Most of the time, kids within the same school are doing extracurricular activities together. They may be going to school regularly because that’s where their friends are, but you will only be able to tell if they are not focusing on their academics by checking their grades or getting the teachers’ feedback. Getting Fs is a solid sign that they are busy with something else or going through something bad, especially if they decline your offer of getting them a tutor or helping with their studies.
#3. Unfamiliar Friends
If you kids are often out with their friends but don’t know who they go out with, that’s very dangerous. Ask your kids to invite their friends over once in a while. You may serve them snacks and allow them to do fun activities, such as watching movies, playing games, or swimming in the family pool. That way, you have an idea of what your kids’ friends are like by observing how they behave and talk. Kids with some sort of drug addiction are very secretive and wouldn’t want you to hear anything they are talking about or they may just lock themselves up in your kids’ room. Know your kids’ friends, they spend most of their time with them and they play a big part in your kids’ lives.
#4. Distant and Aloof
Be involved in your kids’ lives. There are surely reasons why your kids would take illegal substances or marijuana. It could be peer pressure, but it could also be family matters. If you and your spouse or any member of the family are having issues, it would be best to talk things out. If you argue, make sure that you are not doing it in front of your kids, especially if the reason for the argument involves your kids. When your kids start keeping their distance from you or if they prefer to be outside of the house or spend time alone, then there could be serious issues in the household. Always staying out late is also a sign that you should not miss.
#5. Health Issues
People taking drugs usually have memory problems. They are disoriented and forget things often. It could also take a toll on their physical and mental health. You will notice that they are very weak and look very tired all the time. Bloodshot eyes or dark circles around the eyes are caused by staying up late or not sleeping at all. Some drugs keep the users awake for days. They can be very active during these days and at the end of that period, the effects will definitely show in their physical appearance – exhaustion, hunger, thirst, and dry skin.
#5. Constant Need of Cash
Notice that you always lose cash or even household items? Addicted teens could resort to stealing if they run out of allowance to buy their drugs. This is very common among drug addicts. They want to have more because they need cash to buy drugs. Where else would they go aside from your own pockets? This behavior could progress could lead to more serious offenses and could mean time spent in juvenile facilities or community service. All parents wouldn’t want any of these to happen to any of their children. However, drug addiction is one horrible reality that we cannot get away with. Teenagers don’t know what consequences they will be facing if they try these substances for the first time. That’s what we want to keep them away from – that first try, that first attempt. Every first has a second or third until they get addicted.
You need to know what steps to take when you are suspecting that your teenager is into drugs. You may need professional assistance if your kid does not want to talk to you about whatever issues are bothering him/her. A psychologist could be your best option at this point. TG Psychology helps parents know the different types of addictions and how to treat them. They also provide high quality psychological and counseling services for a wide range of issues, including addiction and depression among teens. Never give any second thoughts of consulting any professional if it is for your child’s sake.