Lies and Drugs: Tips on How to Approach Your Teen

shutterstock_232628977When parents realize that a child is blatantly lying about something, it can be a disheartening moment. When that lie has to do with drug abuse, it can be a devastating one.

A study in the journal Pediatrics showed how common these kinds of lies can be. As reported by Val Willingham for CNN, Wayne State University researchers surveyed “high-risk urban teens” and their parents about drug use. Then they took hair samples and tested them for opiates and cocaine. A key result: “The data found that young people were 52 percent more likely to test positive for cocaine in their hair samples than they were to actually report using cocaine on their questionnaires.”

“They are giving socially acceptable responses,” said Dr. Virginia Delaney-Black, the study’s author, in the CNN story. “People are not willing to admit to drug use so freely as they are other things. … We’ve known from other studies that adults downplay their drug use. This is the first time we’ve documented it in teens.”

What can parents do when they realize their children are using drugs and lying about it? Here are a few tips. [Read more…]

Steps for stopping addictive teen behavior

shutterstock_483300244Once the Christmas rush slows down, the holiday season can be a time of reflection. For parents of teenagers that are using drugs and alcohol, the time may be useful to contemplate this dangerous path, and to make a plan to stop the teen’s behavior before it gets worse. The way parents interact with the child is essential, and it may be necessary to examine the possibility of a treatment center.

Here’s a look at some of these potential steps for parents. [Read more…]

The power of gratitude

shutterstock_520034698It’s Thanksgiving week, and once the school and work tasks slow down, it’s a day typically filled with family, friends and warm vibes all around. It can mean much more than just a fun day of turkey, parades and football on TV, however. For teenagers who have struggled with drugs or alcohol use, Thanksgiving can be a reminder of the power of gratitude, as in being thankful for the people around us who care, and staying positive about being on the right path.

Here’s a look at some of the benefits of gratitude. [Read more…]

Stay alert for early signs of teen drug use

Teen interventionNo parents want to believe that their teenage son or daughter is using drugs. But there can be early signs of this, and parents should be aware of sudden changes in appearance and behavior.

As most parents understand, the adolescent years are difficult for anyone to navigate. Carl E. Pickhardt examines this in a story for Psychology Today, calling adolescence “a process of separation from childhood and family, differentiation from how one was as a child, and experimentation with new (often forbidden) experiences to grow.”

This experimentation can include drugs, and as Pickhardt points out, it’s not something teenagers will openly discuss. “It will be because he has gotten caught,” Pickhardt says. “ … When adolescents start significant substance use, they usually do not confess it to a parent in words; they betray it by their actions. So parents need to know what behaviors to look for. To begin, they should pay attention to uncharacteristic changes in their son or daughter’s behavior.”

Here’s a look at several things parents should look for regarding teens and drug use. [Read more…]

Taking on tough conversations

Supporting your teenagerTough conversations come with the territory for parents. As children reach teenage years, the potential exposure to alcohol and drugs can lead to some of these difficult conversations. One question from a child that might cause a moment of panic: “Did you try drugs or alcohol when you were young?”

If the answer is yes, will confirming it make it seem like it’s OK for the teen to do the same? If it’s yes, and the parent denies it, then you’re dealing with a lie from that point forward.

It’s complicated, and so are some of the differing studies on the topic. Here’s a look at some of those questions and tips from experts.

[Read more…]