In the busy world in which we live every day it is so important for parents of teens and even the tweens to really keep an eye out for changes in their child’s behaviour. Often simple yet easily identified changes are the first hints that you son or daughter may be using and abusing alcohol and drugs. While each different type of drug has a slightly different physical effect on the body, there are also some typical social, emotional and attitudinal changes that may signal the need for further investigation.Three of the most common indicators that your teen may be using alcohol and drugs include:
1. Changes in privacy – your teen or tween may suddenly seem a lot more particular about privacy. They don’t want you in their room, touching their stuff or even in the same room as they are when they are on the phone or on the computer with their friends.
2. Memory and concentration difficulties – your child may begin to have problems in remembering things and focusing in on tasks. This is not because of distractions in the environment but rather because of the effects of alcohol or drugs on the body and brain.
3. Sleeping problems – often the use of alcohol or drugs causes changes in sleep. Kids and teens may be sleeping a lot more or they may be having difficulty in getting to sleep. Some drugs may also cause hallucinations and nightmares that in turn lead to loss of sleep and irritability during waking hours.
Unfortunately many parents assume that these changes in behaviour are just normal phases that kids are going through. While they may be just that it is important to talk to your child about the use of alcohol or drugs and, if you still have fears, get an addiction therapist involved before the addiction causes serious problems for the teen.
Proper guidance of children, constant communication and quality time can be some of the elements in making sure adolescents’ interest in vices are curbed. Although, there is no perfect type of parenting and there sure are a variety of distractions outside the family, it is best for parents to be vigilant and aware of the activities and friends of their offspring as prevention is definitely better than cure.
An author with an MS in Guidance in Counseling and a focus on drug and alcohol abuse counseling, I was actually able to include these changes in the character in my book who was using.
Her mother did not even notice the changes because of the dynamic of their relationship, let alone assume it was for a certain reason. I hope that parents who read my book will recognize these signs. Your blog entry will certainly help!
The teenage years are really tough. You can’t protect your kids from all the negative influences out there. But your love and support will boost their self-esteem and help them be able to make the right choices when in perilous situations.
Speaking personally, as I began to experiment and regularly use drugs & alcohol as a teenager, the ability to relate and get along with parents quickly faded. No matter what they said or did with respect to me or my best interests, I would snap at them them with intolerance and so on. The patterns of drinking & using I was engaging in were manifesting themselves in a way that made me completely unwilling to speak with my parents from a place of love and objectivity.