Drugs and your child
If you think your child is using drugs, your natural reaction may be to panic (and shout). But if you wait until you feel calmer and then talk to your child, you will make better progress. Find out how to spot if your child might be using drugs - and how to approach the subject with them.
Talking to your child about the dangers of drugs
It’s never too early to educate your child about the dangers of drugs. You should encourage discussion about them and make sure your child knows to tell you if they’re ever offered anything.Signs that your child may be using drugs
Possible signs of drug use can include changes in your child’s:
- choice of friends
- eating and sleeping habits
- openness with you
However, all these can be a natural part of growing up and a young person who is not using drugs could show the same changes. If you have suspicions, speak to your child but don’t jump to any conclusions.What to do if your child is taking drugs
If you do find out your child is taking drugs, your natural reaction may be to panic. However, it’s important you stay calm, talk to them and reassure them.
- let them explain in their own words what they've done
- avoid asking them why they've taken drugs as it will make them defensive
- not get hung up on blame
- let them know exactly how you feel about the situation
If your child does have a drug problem, it’s important for them to know that you will be there for them. This could be in the form of answering simple questions or helping them through the difficult process of kicking the habit.
Let them know you trust them, but at the same time feel free to show disappointment if this trust is broken.Knowing where your child is
In order to keep track of where your child is, you should ask questions like:
- what company they are keeping
- who the parents, guardians or carers of their friends are
- why they are always late home
- why they do not want to get up in the morning
- why they are not eating
- whether they are missing school
- why they lock their bedroom door
- why they have so much money and where did it come from
- what they are doing when they are out.
Ask these questions in a caring way. They should not show distrust and a lack of confidence in your child and always keep lines of communication open at all times.