Where to Look
Peel back that velcro from the trapper keeper and see what’s inside.
Looking through your kid’s things might feel like an invasion of privacy, but parenting does not stop at the bedroom door.
Here’s the lowdown:
It’s probably hard enough looking for behavioral signs that your kid might be using tobacco, e-cigarettes, alcohol, or other drugs; it’s even tougher for you to search for the substances themselves. Looking through their stuff might feel like an invasion of privacy, but limits you set with your child do not stop at their bedroom door.
If you notice concerning changes in behavior, unusual odors wafting from their room (like marijuana or cigarette smoke), smells to mask other smells like incense or air fresheners, or other warning signs, it’s important to find out what’s going on behind that “KEEP OUT” sign.
One note of caution, however, be prepared to explain your reasons for a search, whether or not you decide to tell them about it beforehand. You can let them know it’s out of concern for their health and safety.
Kids come up with some crafty places to conceal alcohol, drugs, and drug products.
Hiding Spots Include:
- Dresser drawers beneath or between clothes
- Desk drawers
- Small boxes – jewelry, pencil, etc.
- Backpacks/duffle bags
- Under a bed, In a bed frame
- In a plant, buried in the dirt
- In between books on a bookshelf
- Inside books with pages cut out
- Makeup cases – inside fake lipstick tubes or compacts
- Under a loose plank in floorboards
- Inside over-the-counter medicine containers (Tylenol, Advil, etc.)
- Inside empty candy bags such as M&Ms or Skittles
Two Other Places to Look:
- Your kid’s phone: Don’t overlook your kid’s cell phone or other digital devices. Do you recognize their frequent contacts? Do recent messages or social media posts hint at drug use or contradict what they’ve told you? Do you recognize any of the slang?
- Your kid’s car: Are there any bottles, pipes, bongs, or other drug products rolling around on the floor or hidden in the glove box?
If your search turns up something, prepare for a conversation.