While it may be easier said than done, keeping your children on a healthy path usually requires extremely open communication. Teenagers may not always be the most forthcoming of individuals, however, and you may find that in the blink of an eye you went from having a happy talkative child to a quieter and sometimes even sullen teenager. Hormones often take over and you may wonder what happened to your child overnight.
Just because there are changes in your child’s demeanor does not necessarily mean they are on or doing drugs, but there is the good chance that they may want to experiment, and you can’t be with them all the time. In most cases (unless you have put them on lockdown after bad behavior or for betraying your trust), kids will have opportunities to try drugs and alcohol—especially as they begin driving, dating, and participating in a range of extracurricular activities. They may not have to look far if they are interested in testing out the waters with drinking or smoking marijuana (or worse), and often the opportunities will find them before they reach out at all.
Opening the conversation about drugs is as simple as … opening it. Just as talking about sex with your children and educating them on ‘the birds and the bees’ and safety and protection is not easy, talking about drugs may seem awkward too, and especially if they feel like you are being accusatory when they have done nothing wrong. Become educated yourself so that you understand what types of drugs may be available to your child through school or parties in the neighborhood and speak to them about the dangers.
While you may be tempted to focus on the hazards of marijuana, crack, or more serious street drugs like heroin, keep in mind that alcohol is the most prevalent mind-altering substance they will encounter, and could very well be the most dangerous. It could also be the drug that leads to a lifelong problem if they are prone to addiction or reach out for an unhealthy coping mechanism later.
Not only does alcohol ravage the life of the substance abuser, but in their earlier years, young people and younger drinkers do not have good judgment about how to handle their alcohol or when to quit, and worst of all, determining when not to get behind the wheel. A teenager with a DUI can be a very difficult situation to deal with too, as the legal and financial repercussions are enormous, not to mention the catastrophe and the tragedy if they were negligent enough to hurt or even killed another motorist.
Speak to your children openly and let them ask you questions, but like most parents you may want to explain to them that you will not tolerate the use of drugs or alcohol in your home. Keep your kids engaged in healthy activities like intellectual pursuits, sports, summer camps, and more. If your minor child has been charged with a crime, call Dolan Law Offices as soon as possible.
We have defended hundreds of adults and juveniles in criminal matters, with successful results. Call us at (760) 775-3739 or contact us online as soon as possible.