After all the joys of parenting young children, there comes a time when those toddlers grow up into middle school age and high school age. This is the challenging part of their lives when temptations of all sorts come into plain view.
As parents, we need to be vigilant about how to manage our children through these tricky years and avoid any long-term drug problems. We want to see kids who are happy, healthy and focused on a bright future, rather than watch them fall into drug abuse or dependence. The best way to ensure that is to lessen the risk of your kids being exposed to drugs at an early age.
Keeping Your Kids Away from Drugs
Parents can be effective in limiting long-term drug use with these tips:
Keep kids busy
Kids aged 12-17 who are involved in sports and other afterschool activities have been found to be less likely to experiment with cigarettes, drugs, and alcohol, per the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH). When your kids are engaged in positive activities, they are often so taken with the activity and the health benefits, that the interest in illicit drug activity goes away.
Communicate with your kids
Talking (and listening) to your child will foster trust and help your kid speak about some of the pressures to experiment with drugs they see in schools. Engaging with you child often about the dangers of substance abuse can help teach them to say no to drugs. Additionally, offering your child a no-questions-asked way out of situations where drugs or alcohol are present can help them feel less anxious about avoiding peer pressure by asking their parents to come and get them.
Drug test your child
When evidence is seen that your child looks to be using drugs, we recommend that you do a random drug test in the home. Marijuana stays in the bloodstream for up to two weeks, and it’s detectable with a drug test. Drug test kits at our local pharmacy cost between $20-$30, but when used with love and support, it can stop the interest in pursuing drug use by your teenager. we recommend that you do a random drug test in the home. Marijuana stays in the bloodstream for up to two weeks, and it’s detectable with a drug test. Drug test kits at our local pharmacy cost between $20-$30, but when used with love and support, it can stop the interest in pursuing drug use by your teenager.
Online Help for Parents
There are some helpful websites that can provide information to help give you the confidence to start with drug testing your child. Here are a few:
- Partnership for Drug-Free Kids (http://www.drugfree.org/) – This non-profit organization offers parents a blog, online resources, and a support network to help understand their kids’ drug exploration. Parents can even find out how to drug test a child without them knowing.
- First Check Family (http://http://www.firstcheckfamily.com/) – This site offers detailed info on using the drug test kits for parents and their kids.
All parents want to feel confident that their children are happy, healthy and focused on the future. The unfortunate reality is that drug use can derail these goals and put a strain on families. Parents can do a lot to curtail their child’s risk.
By being proactive in your kids’ lives, you can manage the situation before it gets too much. Learning how to talk to you child about drug abuse and providing them with opportunities to move away from friends or situations where drugs are involved, can reduce the possibility that your child will use drugs when they are older.
A Mother’s Story
For many parents, finding out that your baby is using drugs can be scary to process. It can seem easier to ignore the signs of drug abuse and write the drug experimentation off as a phase than it is to confront your child about it. However, approaching the situation with a supportive mindset and the knowledge that drug use can have serious consequences can help you remain firm with your child.
When a mother of a high school freshman realized her son was showing signs of drug use, she knew she had to take action. Learn more about how drug testing provided her with the direction to stop her child from using marijuana:
Over the recent summer, she had noticed some inconsistencies in her son’s answers to his whereabouts on particular nights. He started to become evasive about with whom he was hanging around. New behavior patterns began to emerge (such as no texts, coming home late, getting some food in the kitchen, and shutting the door of his room behind him). His attitude and friendliness started to change.
Some neighborhood kids also told her that her son had been seen in a remote area near where they lived and where marijuana smokers had congregated. She visited the area and found evidence of homemade smoking bongs and tinfoil pipes. When she gathered the evidence and confronted her son, he initially denied everything. This went on for a week or two. Then the mom was able to get ahold of her son’s phone. There were pictures on his phone of he and his ‘friends’ getting ‘baked’, and that became the hard evidence she needed to do a drug test.
The next day, she told her son in a loving voice that “she cared too much about him to argue anymore” and forced him to pee in a cup for a home drug testing kit. Yes, it tested positive for marijuana. He then confessed and told her that he’d been smoking with friends for a few months.
She and her husband knew they had to support and love their son, not get angry and vindictive. But they needed to stay firm. With that directive, they weaned him away from the ‘friends’ and got him involved in school sports activities. With that as a base, the freshman was able to start to move forward without drug use.
Voluntary Random Testing in Schools
For some parents, drug testing kids doesn’t come that easily. Due to this hesitation, some school officials are starting to assume responsibility for the drug testing. At least one school district in New Jersey has approved a voluntary drug-testing program for middle-schoolers. The district approval comes after a 6-year study on NJ middle schoolers by the Partnership for a Drug-Free New Jersey and Fairleigh Dickinson University. The results showed that students were less likely to use drugs in later years if they tested positive for drugs in middle school.
Seventh graders and 8th graders at the Lacey Township Board of Education in New Jersey who play sports or other after-school extracurricular programs will be given an option to take a random drug testing (provided the parents sign a consent form). Currently, the only penalty if a student is found positive is removal from the sport or activity.
If you’re a parent and you need special help with a child who is a drug user, contact the staff at The Recovery Village. We help parents understand what is happening to their child, and we can help the child beat any emerging substance issues, chemical dependency, and drug addiction. Contact us today to learn more about our individualized treatment programs.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.