Sadly, drug use is too widespread to assume that it will never touch the life of your son or daughter.
It’s good to know that certain behaviors can serve as a warning. These include:
- an abrupt change in mood or attitude
- a sudden decline in attendance or performance at school
- impaired relationships with family
- ignoring curfews
- unusual flare-ups of temper or emotion
- increased borrowing of money; stealing from home or work
- heightened secrecy about actions and possessions
- associating with a new group of friends
Pay attention, but don’t rush to judgment: Many of these behaviors are also part of normal teenage growing pains.
So what exactly is a parent to do?
The best advice is to watch carefully, get to know your child’s friends, and talk about the problems associated with drug and alcohol abuse.
Make sure your child hears from you that taking drugs is harmful to one’s physical, mental, and social well-being. Make a clear statement that you are opposed to drug and alcohol use and intend to enforce that position.
But also remember that if your child is using drugs, he or she needs your help. Seek support from other parents, ask a school counselor or teacher about available resources, and call the Santa Barbara Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse for help right away.