By Parent Advocate, Sue Scheff, for GalTime.com
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Drug use (substance abuse) is a serious cry for help, and making your teen feel ashamed or embarrassed can make the problem worse.
Some common behavior changes you may notice if your teenager is abusing drugs and alcohol are:
- Violent outbursts, rage, disrespectful behavior
Poor or dropping grades
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
Skin abrasions, track marks
- Missing curfew, running away, truancy
Bloodshot eyes, distinct "skunky" odor on clothing and skin
- Missing jewelry, money
- New friends
Depression, apathy, withdrawal, disengaged from the family
- Reckless behavior
Tips to help prevent substance abuse:
1. Communication is the key to prevention. Whenever an opportunity arises about the risks of drinking and driving or the dangers of using drugs, take it to start a conversation. Remember parents, it is important to be a parent first - friendship will come in time.
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2. Have a conversation not a confrontation. If you suspect your teen is using drugs, talk to them. Don't judge them, talk to them about the facts of the dangers of substance abuse. If your teen isn't opening up to you, be sure you find an adolescent therapist that can help.
3. Addict in the family? Do you have an addict in your family? Sadly many families have been effected by someone that has allowed drugs to take over their lives. With this, it is a reminder to your teen that you want them to have bright future filled with happiness. The last thing you want for them is to end up like ____.
4. Don't be a parent in denial. There is no teenager that is immune to drug abuse. No matter how smart your teen is, or athletic they are, they are at risk if they start using. I firmly believe that keeping your teen constructively busy, whether it is with sports, music or other hobbies they have, you will be less at risk for them to want to experiment. However don't be in the dark thinking that your teen is pulling a 4.0 GPA and on the varsity football that they couldn't be dragged down by peer pressure. Go back to number one - talk, talk, talk - remind your teen how proud you are of them, and let them know that you are always available if they feel they are being pressured to do or try something they don't want to.