Help a Teen Who is Using
Put your big girl acid-washed jeans on and ask the questions.
Don’t delay. If your kid is using, getting involved right away is their best opportunity for getting back on track.
Here’s the Lowdown:
Any child can end up in trouble, even those who have made an effort to avoid it and even when they have been given the proper guidance from their parents. If your child has been caught using alcohol or drugs, or has been given a substance use disorder diagnosis, you may feel overwhelmed and worried about what this means for your kid’s future and for your family. You should know you’re not alone. In fact, 10 million Americans ages 12 to 29 currently need treatment for substance use disorder and addiction.
If you see your teen is drinking or using drugs, take these steps:
Take A Moment To Reflect On The Situation
It’s normal to feel overwhelmed—and maybe even a little embarrassed or ashamed—so it’s important to take time to get your bearings before taking action. Keep in mind that substance use disorder doesn’t carry with it the same stigma it did in the past. If you can approach it as the health issue it is, rather than a sign of a “bad” kid, you will likely find that your community and family will as well.
Prepare To Have A Conversation With Your Teen
Think ahead of time or talk with your significant other and come to a decision on the position you’ll take. Stay calm throughout the process. Gather any evidence you may have.
Talk With Your Teen
Be specific about what you’ve noticed, what you’re concerned about, and focus on finding a solution. Learn more tips on how to start the conversation.
Set And Revisit Rules
Stick with any rules you had previously set for your teen. And be very clear about exactly what you will—and will not—tolerate and what the consequences for breaking the rules again will be. Consider letting your teen help you determine some of the details and write it all down so there’s no confusion in the future.
Bring In A Professional For Your Teen
A professional, such as your family doctor or a substance use counselor, can help you assess the extent of your teen’s substance issues and connect you to the appropriate treatment options if needed. Find treatment information in your area.
Get Support For Yourself And Your Family
It’s important not to overlook the other members of your family who may be affected, including siblings who may feel angry, scared, or overwhelmed. Reach out to people you trust, like school counselors, teachers, or friends, and consider joining support groups. Dial 211 if you or someone you know is using drugs and is ready to look for treatment or you can text your zip code to “898-211” (TXT-211) and automatically connect with a friendly Maine-based specialist. Getting help is a sign of strength.
Get Tips For Talking To A Teen Who Is Vaping or Smoking
The Maine Vaping Support Line is available to any Maine adult or youth, speak with a trained Quit Coach for support and get answers to your questions about vaping. It’s free and confidential! Call 1-844-9NO-VAPE to speak with a coach or email NoVAPE@MaineQuitLink.com for support.