Warning Signs of Drug Use in Children
Knowing that drugs exist and may at some point enter your child’s life can be a scary thing to have to accept. The fact is, most parents want their children to stay away from drugs while they are growing up. But sometimes this is just not the case. Even if a child does start experimenting with drugs, it is highly unlikely that they will walk up and announce the fact. Most children would not even admit that they had seen drugs being used or passed around them. More or less that they had tried such a thing. This is why it is important to both keep the dialogue between yourself and your children open. Moreover, to be aware of the warning signs of drug use in children.
The warning signs of drug use in children is much like that of an adult. But on a younger, age appropriate level. Things such as spending massive amounts of time alone when at home can be a sign of drug use. Though this can also be a sign of other things, such as depression. Therefore, it should not be taken as a sign alone. Another sign is a sudden change in the style of dress. This is separate from trying to find one’s own style. If your child suddenly resists requests for better grooming and hygiene, a cleaner room, or even getting a haircut, it could be a red flag. These paired with secretiveness can signal a problem, though it is not always drugs and alcohol.
If your child or teenager starts spending more time away from home, staying out late, and hiding his or her friends then there is room for concern. The same holds true if they stop talking to trusted adults or yourself and start blaming any issues on you or an invasion of privacy. While not all of these happen to all children who experiment, they are red flags that deserve further investigation and discussion.
What to Do
If you suspect or know your child is experimenting with drugs and alcohol it is not a problem that should be ignored. Start by monitoring your child’s coming and going as well as checking pockets, backpacks, and drawers. Set boundaries and curfews with enforceable consequences for breaking them. Your child may be frustrated or angry, but this is nothing compared to a lifetime of addiction. At some point they will realize that it is out of caring and concern, but this will only come as you continue to have an open conversation about drugs. Just remember to talk and listen as you have this dialogue.
Finally, know that your child is not immune. Addiction is no respecter of age, class, gender, or otherwise. A good family and caring parents do not shield children from the world of addiction. Prepare your child to say no and to come to you if they need help. If your child is already addicted, then seek professional help immediately. The sooner help can be found, the better chance your child has at an addiction free future.
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