As a parent, it’s our job to make sure we protect our kids from everything. This means teaching them how to take care of themselves and protecting them from dangers they may not even know exist. The number of teen addicts is a lot larger than most parents realize, and that is often because children, especially teenagers, are incredibly good at hiding their addictions. However, knowing what to be on the lookout for can really help.
Common Signs of Substance Abuse in Teenagers
I never really thought too much about addiction in teenagers until my daughter started acting odd. Someone offhandedly commented that she was acting high, and thinking it was a joke, I laughed. She’s a straight-A student with no disciplinary issues and is just not the “stoner” type. After I was a second or two into the laugh, I stopped and wondered to myself if there is a “stoner” type, and if I would recognize it if she fell into that crowd. The realization that I probably wouldn’t even know, hit me hard, and I started educating myself about what to be on the lookout for.
The biggest thing parents should be watching for when it comes to the signs of substance abuse are major changes. If your child used to be really outgoing and involved in school, then quickly becomes withdrawn and pulls away from these activities, you should take note of this behavior. The same goes for kids who are neat freaks that become disorganized and disheveled.
Kids that stop taking care of themselves physically should also be watched. If you can combine these with cash or personal items that go missing or an increase in secretive behavior, you may really need to have a talk with your child.
Substances Parents May Not Even Realize Can Be Abused
When you know what to be on the lookout for from your child, you then need to know what you should be monitoring. The danger that most kids face doesn’t come from some random stranger hiding in the shadows down the street. The most common dangers come from within our own homes. This was the hardest part for me to accept. I started watching the pills in the house first. I noticed a drastic reduction in some over-the-counter medicines, and that proved to be one of the issues my daughter was facing.
You should also realize that there are more hazards in your home than just medications. Do you have gasoline for your lawnmower or snowblower? How about turpentine? Permanent markers? Perhaps crafting glue? Here’s one you may never have thought of: Do you have any aerosol cans in your house? Not just spray paint, but aerosol grease for your pans, deodorant, whipped cream, or canned air to clean your computer? All of these are things your child could be using to get high, right under your nose.
What to Do to Keep Your Kids Safe
Parents need to protect their children at all costs. Knowing how to keep them safe is a great way to keep the battle under control. Talk to your kids often, and when you suspect an issue, bring it up. If they act secretive about it, bring them to their pediatrician and express your concerns. It takes a village to raise a child for a reason, so reach out and get the help you both need!
BreeAnn Russ is a mother to seven children, a wife, an entrepreneur and business-owner, writer, and a survivor. After going through some very rough moments in life, she shares her experiences with others so they may learn the lessons in an easier fashion than she had to. If sharing even one event in her life spares someone else, she wholly believes it is worth her time and effort.