If you think back to when you were a teenager, its likely you can recall going through tough times. Life isn’t easy for any teenager; there is much to learn about who they are and what they must achieve to become an adult. With the stresses of education holding a bar over their prospects, learn social skills and the physical and emotional changes taking place within their bodies, it can all become quite overwhelming. Teenagers have difficulty dealing with stress, just like adults do. They are always looking for ways to cope, and of course, sometimes drugs can be that coping mechanism.
Trying to work out whether your teenager (or in some cases – pre-teenager) is using drugs can be a tough challenge. Teenagers have a way of hiding things, and their communication with you may not be what it should, which can make it very difficult to work out what is wrong and how they are coping.
It can often be difficult to tell whether your teen is merely experiencing basic puberty symptoms or potentially experimenting with drugs. However, there are some signs to look out for that can help you work them out. The best way to know whether your teen may be using drugs is through an honest relationship where you communicate well with each other. Unfortunately, this openness between most is not as common as it should be.
If your teenager has started acting differently to a point where previously stable family relationships are being affected, it could be something to pay attention to. Certain types of mood swings like extreme moodiness, anger-based lashing out, and constant arguing are potential signals. Although staying out past curfews and defying your rules is standard teenage practice for pushing boundaries, if your child is staying out all night, continually asking for money, driving recklessly, or disappearing for long periods of time, substances might be something to consider.
Depending on the type of drugs being used, your teen’s physical and emotional appearance may be something to tell you if they are using. Things like constant sniffling, red eyes, manic behavior, very slow or very fast speech, drastic appetite changes, and poor coordination are all signs of drug abuse. Depending on different substances, their behaviors can change rapidly, so it’s imperative to communicate and stay in tune with your child from a young age approaching their teens.
It’s well known that teenagers will have mood swings and they will show signs of emotional stability shifts. It’s all part of hormone balancing and bodily changes. But if teenagers are using drugs, these changes can be explosive.
The emotional changes in your teen are going to be a touchy subject, and you must approach it with caution. Often these explosive changes can be caused by depression or other mental health issues, rather than drugs. If it gets to a point where your communication is breaking down between you and your teen, find some professional advice on how to create better options. If there is a history of mental illness in your teen’s family, it’s important to consider this as a viable option for what might be going on.
Drugs can often spoil basic hormonal development in teenagers, and because their hormones affect a child’s behavior as well as their growth and development, it can be challenging to gauge the reasoning behind their behavior.
From their health and hygiene to drastic changes in their school work, or classroom behavior. You may also find paraphernalia in their bedroom or around the home like rolling papers, aluminum foil, small pipes, or small clip seal bags that could be a sign of drug use.
Communication is Key
When your child matures into a young adult, it’s important to guide them to make the right decisions. Even though they may struggle with all the above issues, being genuinely interested in their lives and showing you care and want to communicate is proactive. Gather information through communication, so you will know if something is not right. Making them feel safe will help to get them to communicate with you if something is wrong.