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How to approach your teen for an intervention

Updated: Feb 14, 2023

Many parents have sat in horror, watching their children spiral out of control. You may not know what to do and you may feel that you are powerless in the situation. It is important to remember that you are not alone.

If your son or daughter is using drugs, alcohol, or other substances then this blog post could be very helpful for you. In this blog post, we will look at how to approach your child about intervention and why it is important to do so at this time rather than later on down the line when things get so bad they need professional help immediately!

Have a plan

As you prepare to talk with your teen, it's important to have a plan. Having a list of questions ready will help guide the conversation and keep it on track. If you're working with someone else, such as a mental health professional or another parent, make sure that both of you are on the same page about what each person will do before approaching your teen.

If your teen refuses treatment and/or counseling after an intervention, it's important for all adults in their life to be aware of this choice. It means they may need regular monitoring during the next few weeks so they don't harm themselves or others while they're vulnerable in their decision-making process.

Don't Give It Time

It's important to remember that the longer you wait, the harder it will be. There is a window of opportunity when your teen will be most receptive to help, and if you wait too long, this window will close.

Your teen may not be willing to listen to what you have to say. He or she might not be able to hear what other people are telling them about their problem, especially if they've been told that many times before without making a change.

The young person may not even be willing to get help for themselves because they're so lost in their addiction or mental health issue at this point that nothing matters anymore except getting high or feeling better about themselves (or both).

Do Keep Calm

It's important to stay calm, but firm. Don't get angry or emotional, and don't talk down to your child. It's also not helpful to be condescending or use guilt or threats as part of your intervention. The goal is to have a healthy dialogue with your teen about their drug use and its effects on them and those around them—not to try and bully them into changing their behavior through bribes or scare tactics disguised as concern for their health.

Their closest friends or relatives should handle the conversation

When it comes to the actual intervention, the person that can best handle it is someone who is close to your teen. They don't have to be their parent or guardian, but if they are family or even a close friend, this will make things easier for everyone involved.

The first step in handling an intervention with your teen depends on how much information you have about them and how well you know them as people. If they are open and honest with you, then hopefully having an intervention will come easily and without too much surprise or stress on either side.

However, if they're not willing to share their feelings with anyone (even their closest confidants), then consider having some type of professional help there just in case things get heated during the conversation itself--or simply because there might be something deeper going on behind closed doors which means more than just getting through a conversation like this one!

Don't Approach Your Child When They Are Drunk or High

You should avoid approaching your teen when they are drunk or high – This can affect their ability to process the message you are trying to convey and may make them defensive.

You should avoid approaching your child when they are angry or upset – Doing so could make them even more volatile, which may lead to an argument that will set back progress toward a positive relationship.

You should also avoid approaching your child while they are in a bad mood – Being moody is not necessarily a negative thing, but it can affect how receptive they are to what you're saying and how much energy they have for listening at that particular moment in time.

The same applies to being busy: if you try talking to someone who's very distracted by what he/she is doing, it's going to be difficult for them (and probably for yourself!)

Don't Judge

  • Don't judge yourself. Simply because you're a parent doesn't mean that you're perfect or always right, and this is not the time to start playing the blame game. You're doing your best, and that's all that matters right now.

  • Don't judge your teen. No matter what they've done or how they've acted in the past, they deserve respect and compassion during this difficult time. They may be sulky or angry with you, but try to keep calm and do not get into any heated arguments with them—it will only make things worse!

  • Don't judge their situation or anyone involved in it (including yourself). Your child's drug problem is not your fault; don't take on guilt for something outside of yourself that could have happened even without your presence in their life at all times (although we recommend being there as much as possible!).

Respect privacy

Respect your teen's privacy. When it comes to planning an intervention, you must always respect your teen's privacy. This means that you cannot tell anyone else about the intervention, including your teen's friends or family. You also should not tell your teen's friends or family about the intervention before it happens.

Talking with others may cause them to worry about their friend and make them less likely to help out during the intervention process by attending or supporting it in any way possible.

It also could lead some people in their lives to feel betrayed by what they perceive as a betrayal of trust on behalf of their friend—and this could prevent these potential allies from coming forward when needed most!


As you can see, it’s not difficult to approach your teen for an intervention if you do so carefully. If you have the right mindset and are equipped with the right tools, you’re halfway there. The next step is to pick a time and place for your intervention that makes sense for everyone involved. Remember that this process takes time, so don’t rush things or get anxious about when it will happen (or if it ever will).

Take it one day at a time as you work toward making positive changes in your life! If this process still seems daunting and you need some help, please contact us today.


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