I am worried my child may be using drugs. I don’t know what to do!

A Room for Play Therapy with toys and comfy places to sit.

Question of the Month: I am worried my child may be using drugs. I don’t know what to do!

This is a question we often get as counselors, and it is certainly a scary time for parents when they have some suspicions about drug use. Keep talking to your teen, share your suspicions in a calm manner. Do not accuse but ask about use. Explain why you think they may be using drugs.

Will they be honest with you if they are using? Probably not, but you are opening the lines of communication. Give your teen some education around drugs and their effects when the opportunities arise- do not over dramatize because they will not listen. Information is power. Monitor who your child’s friends are (you can’t choose their friends, but you should know who they are) and where they are hanging out.

Call parents to make sure there is supervision when they are going to another teen’s home. Establish and enforce rules about checking in with you when they are gone. Spend time with your teen and talk with them, not at them. Will this prevent or stop all drug use? No, but having a relationship with your teen will help in the good and bad times. Knowing that you are checking up and in with them regularly, gives teens a sense of safety and consistency even though they will complain about it. And seeking advise/help from a school or community counselor is always a good option to help you navigate through these magical, yet difficult years!

Devona Marshall, the clinic director and psychotherapist, has a blog where she writes about therapy, life and being human. It can be found at www.devonamarshall.blogspot.com or www.lostinrelativity.blogspot.com

Hanging with Teens

I got the pleasure to spend time this past weekend (at our cabin) with some of my nephews (and two of my children), who are all mainly teens, and what a fun experience!

We sat around the campfire, talking about our first kisses, and everyone participated. I have to say my sister’s answer to that question was quite interesting! We also talked extensively about drugs and let’s just say, they are exposed to a lot. Way more than I ever was as a teen, and it’s so much more available.

I am proud of how they are all making their way through those teen years, with challenges I never had to face. But they are making THEIR way through.

My sisters and I raised our children together, and that has been a huge blessing. The support we get from each other in the parenting department is invaluable. And I know they love my kids and want what’s best for them.

There was a lot of testosterone flowing this weekend- wrestling and seeing who was stronger. I wonder if they will ever outgrow that? There is definitely a hierarchy based upon strength and size among these cousins, and as a female, it’s pretty foreign to me!

On Monday we all went home and back to duties-them school, the adults- work.

I feel blessed.

Happiness may come with age, study says
May 31, 2010, The New York Times

A new study has found that by almost any measure, people get happier as they get older, but researchers are not sure why.