After discovering your teenager has a substance abuse problem, your first reaction might be to panic. However, panicking—coupled with some other missteps—can be harmful to your child. If you are dealing with an addicted teen, here are some mistakes to avoid.
Blaming Yourself or the Other Parent
A natural response to discovering your teenager is addicted to drugs is to blame yourself and the other parent. Some parents see their children's drug use as a sign that they somehow failed as a parent.
If you blame yourself or the other parent, you can start to lose confidence in both of your parenting abilities. Instead of searching for the reason behind your child's usage, you could end up taking ownership of the addiction, which could hurt the chances of finding out the real reason for it.
It is impossible to be a perfect parent. If your teen is using drugs and you have done everything you can to parent your child, it is not your failing. There are many other factors, including a possibility of mental illness, that could have contributed to the addiction. Consider joining a support group for parents who are also dealing with addicted teens.
Believing It Is Just a Phase
One of the biggest mistakes you could make is believing that your teenager's drug use is just a phase. Some teenagers do experiment with alcohol and drugs, but it should never be considered to be "normal" or some sort of rite of passage.
If your child's behavior has changed and it is impacting his or her home and school life, this is more than just experimentation. Your teen needs help. Even if you are not sure your teen has an addiction, you should still seek help. A professional can evaluate your teen and help determine if there is a need for treatment.
Failing to Set Real Consequences
If your teen is refusing to get help, forcing him or her to go is an option. However, your teen could fail to take the program seriously and still not receive the help needed. To encourage your child to go, you can put into place consequences for not going.
For instance, you can remove him or her from extracurricular activities. If your child reaches the point at which you feel his or her immediate health is at risk, consult with the drug treatment professionals. Since your child is a minor, you can place him or her in the program without consent, but you will need guidance on how to talk about the decision with your teen.
Contact a company like Bridgeway Recovery Services Inc for more help.