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How To Confront Your Teen About Drug & alcohol Abuse

Updated: Feb 2

It can be a disheartening experience when you suspect your teen is abusing drugs. If you start noticing all the warning signs, it might be time to plan an early intervention to discuss the situation with your teen.

Many parents struggle with how to confront their teens about potential drug or alcohol addiction, and that’s completely understandable. In such a time of uncertainty, it’s important to remain calm, informed, and compassionate toward your child.

When you're approaching this topic, be mindful that it’s something that may hold many emotions for them. There’s no reason to encourage feelings of doubt or shame, but you can express your concerns and discuss modalities toward healing.

Do Your Research

It’s important to be informed before you sit down to talk to your teen. If you suspect drug abuse or addiction problems, research the type of drugs you think they are taking. This can help you understand symptoms, signs of overdose, the withdrawal process, and the level of severity.

Remember that not every teen that uses drugs and alcohol is an addict. However, if you notice early behavior, taking action can help prevent the small hobby from turning into a larger problem. When you do your research, you're able to approach your teen with more understanding.

Choose a Safe Place

When you plan to sit down and talk to your teen, you need to remember that they may not want to come to terms with this situation. It’s not recommended to pick a public place where your teen can run away, yell, or cause a scene.

They should be in a space that feels emotionally safe. However be wary about doing it in your home, if you fear your teen locking themselves in their room for the night. Whatever you decide, remember that it’s best not to make your teen feel trapped. If you immediately put them in defense mode, they will shut down and neglect to open up to you.

Gather a Few Loved Ones

In some instances, there’s indeed strength in numbers. If your teen is close to a few positive role models in the family, or other accompanying areas of life, this might help encourage a ‘wake-up call.’

Many people that use drugs feel isolated and can lose grasp of the reality that they have a strong support system. Be intentional with whom you choose during this step, as it can have the opposite effect if the teen isn’t comfortable with someone you invited.

Encourage Them To Open Up

When you're looking to confront your teen, there’s nothing you can do until you gather more information about their habits. I understand how difficult it can feel to balance being upset, afraid, ashamed, sad, and a whole slew of emotions.

When you go to your teen allow them to talk so you can listen. It’s very important to try to get past this hurdle by helping them feel safe to talk with you. If they feel like you’re yelling at them the entire time, or talking about how everything makes you feel, they won’t be encouraged to open up.

Discuss The Risks

If your teen is being receptive, it might be the perfect time to discuss the risk of drug abuse. Depending on their age and social circles, some kids don’t have any idea what the reality of addiction looks like. They are simply following in the footsteps of those around them. It’s important to share the dark side of addiction, potential overdose, and long-term side effects with them. If possible don’t try to fear-monger them, just focus on education about the dark side of addiction and their drug of choice.

Consider Professional Family Intervention

Sometimes you might feel like you need professional help, but your teen is not yet at the stage where rehab is needed. If all your efforts aren’t making a difference, you can bring a third party into your home for family intervention in Orange County and the South Bay.

At Higher Grounds, we work in your home to help get your family back on track. We provide customized in-home evidence-based solutions for youth, teens, and young adults, ensuring accountability, growth, and results. This is a great method of early prevention to help get your teen back on track before the situation escalates.

Higher Grounds Management brings you the resources your family needs to start the recovery process the right way. You can contact us online anytime if your child or someone you know struggles with drug addiction or suspected drug abuse.

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