Are You Enabling Your Teen to Do Drugs?
“It is the peculiar quality of a fool to perceive the faults of others and to forget his own.” – Roman orator Marcus Tullius Cicero
This quote may sound a bit harsh, but for parents, it is useful to keep it in mind when they curse the external forces that effectively push their children toward drugs or alcohol.
It is certainly true that schools with drug-infested environments, peer groups who experiment with illicit substances, and even movies and TV shows that glorify drug use do increase the odds of teens getting hooked on drugs or alcohol. however, parents who focus on these influences should stop and look in the mirror to see if they are also contributing to the problem.
Even if you do not directly provide booze or drugs to your teen, you should take a moment to figure out whether you are enabling your child’s drug use by asking yourself these questions:
- Do I cover up my teen’s inappropriate behavior or make excuses for my teen? “He/she is just tired/ sick/not feeling social today. Nothing to worry about.”
- Do I ever finish chores or assignments for my teen if he or she is not “sick?” If your teen is too hungover to complete his or her responsibilities, that is a big red flag.
- Are there prescription painkillers or other drugs in our medicine cabinet that I have not used for a while? Throw out all unused prescription medications. That is where teens usually get their drugs.
- Is it easy for my teen to access my funds? Does he/she have a credit card or debit card? Or do you know if he/she frequently takes money from your wallet or purse?
- Am I setting a bad example for my teen? You do not need to swear off alcohol forever, but you should not become inebriated (or high) around your teen.
- Am I ignoring our family history of drug abuse or mental illness? Those are two huge risk factors for addiction.
- Have I failed to lay out clear rules and expectations for my teen concerning drug and alcohol use? Teens love to say, “You never said I couldn’t do it.”
- Have I explained the consequences of violating these rules to my teen? When violations do occur, do you ever choose to “go easy on them?”
- Have I downplayed my teen’s experimentation with alcohol or marijuana because “they are not as bad as other drugs?” Dependence issues aside, they are still illegal for your teen to consume.
- When my teen goes out, do I know where he or she is going or who else will be there? Know your teen’s friends and where they are at all times.
- Has my teen undergone significant unexplained changes recently which I’m choosing to ignore? Sudden depression, withdrawal, irritability, or loss of interest in activities are all signs of drug or alcohol abuse.
- Have I taken steps to prevent law enforcement, educators, or anyone else from imposing consequences on my teen for alcohol or drug use? Begging police or school administrators to avoid punishing your teen for drug or alcohol violations will not help him or her solve the problem.
- If my teen is abusing drugs or alcohol, am I putting off taking action in the hopes that the problem will go away? Chances are, it will not go away on its own. So do not procrastinate any longer. Contact a healthcare professional or drug treatment facility to see about getting help for your teen.
No parent wants his or her child to become a drug addict or alcoholic. Enabling your teen’s substance abuse habits will not make things better, even if you think you are protecting him or her. The good news is, these enabling habits are usually the easiest factors to address because you have complete control over them. Once you change your behavior, you can then focus on helping your teen avoid or battle substance abuse.
Feel free to contact us if you need help with your teen’s substance abuse.