Teen substance abuse is no small problem. Of late the cases of teens falling prey to different problems are escalating. Your teen might seem like the last kid to end up abusing drugs/alcohol. However, if you don't keep a close watch you might end up proving yourself wrong in a disasterous way. One out of 10 American teens aged between 12 and 17 have become victims of drug abuse. If you think your teen's behavior is changing and you can't explain why perhaps you should monitor them closely. Parents who don't chalk up nasty teen behavior to "it's just teenage" and take a proactive approach to their kids' problems are able to bring them out of their addictions.
Deciding if your teen needs rehab or not
The first step towards putting your teen back on the right track is to judge whether or not your teen is into drug or alcohol abuse. Drastic changes in your teen’s appearance will tell you something is wrong. Those dark circles around their eyes may not be because they have been up all night studying for that quiz. Teens that use drugs or alcohol occasionally have a less chance of experiencing a sudden downfall in their grades. Look for significant deterioration of grades rather than dips that sometimes occur because of other reasons. Eating habits often change while there is significant weight loss. They may also alter their interests and start having abrupt mood swings.
Parents should make sure who their teen is hanging out with. When they lose interest in activities they previously prized is a sign for you to move to the next step. Their smell might also tell you many things.
Spend some quality time with your teen to get to know how they have changed recently. Talk to them about what’s going on and how their actions are making you think of drug or alcohol abuse. Most teenagers will admit that they have fallen prey to drug or alcohol abuse. If they don’t and your suspicions still have solid ground to stand on, a simple blood test will tell you what’s happening.
Time for ‘The Talk’
With help from a professional counselor, holding a productive talk with your teen is the great way to move towards teen drug treatment. The counselor will lead the conversation into something conclusive. Including people who are closest to your teenager is also going to help. Giving their opinion about what is the best way to get your child clean; everyone participates actively in the meeting. The purpose of this meeting is that everyone talks about the teenager’s problem in a non-judgmental way so that the drug abuser realizes how much their behavior is hurting those close to them.
Parents’ role: Stay Strong
During their teen’s substance abuse treatment, parents are faced with several emotional demons. It’s almost mandatory that you fight them off while your kid is in rehab. At this time, you do need your personal space to heal and so does your partner but the frustration might just end in you fighting at work, and at home.
Although personal therapy might seem the best solution to this problem, group therapy sessions and parent support sessions are even better where you get to meet other people going through the same situation and its implications. While helping your teen do well at the rehab is important, it is equally important to keep yourself safe and free of the danger of a potential nervous breakdowns.
It is important that you stay by your teen’s side during the time they are in the rehab for substance or alcohol abuse treatment. Staying connected with your teen while they are in rehab is going to make it clear to them that you care enough to invest your time and money in this relationship. Teens who are in rehab often crave for family to visit them; be available for phone calls and check on them from time to time. It makes them realize that in spite of their past issues, their family and other loved ones have not left them alone.
When your teen returns from rehab after receiving treatment for substance or alcohol abuse, they should return to such a home environment that will keep them from relapsing. Any confusion, chaos, or stress is not good for your teen.