You’re always busy. You have a career and you’re constantly working whether you’re at the office, on the road, or at home. You don’t have a lot of time during the day or when you get home for your kids. You have to hire sitters or let your spouse handle raising them while you are busy providing for them. But lately, your kids have seemed a little distant or uninvolved. Could they be doing drugs? And how would you know? Understanding how child risk for drug use increases when a parent or both parents are often absent is important. If you suspect your teen is struggling with drugs, it’s time to seek out a family therapy program that can help heal your unit. Substance abuse treatment programs are also crucial to get your teen the care they need.
Child Risk for Drug Use
Our culture and society puts a lot of value on success and making money, so it’s easy to sometimes forget that part of our role in our families is not only to provide for our family but also to be part of the family, itself. Children need their moms and dads to be moms and dads, not to be gone all the time and unavailable. Parents who do not nurture their children often mean well, but the lack of attachment can increase the risk for a child to abuse drugs.
Being a good parent doesn’t mean giving up your job or not working. It means taking an interest in your children, what is going on in their lives, and what is troubling them. It means setting boundaries and enforcing rules. It also means spending time with your family and showing that you’re genuinely interested in all aspects of your child’s life.
It’s Not Too Late
If you’ve been distant from your kids, don’t worry. It’s not too late to make a difference in their lives. Your child can benefit from you taking an interest in his or her activities and welfare. While your child may be at risk for drug abuse because of earlier times when you couldn’t always be there, you can make up for it by starting now.
The most dangerous time for a child to get involved with drugs is usually a transition period. That means when he or she leaves elementary school and enters junior high school, again when he or she enters high school, and again when he or she goes to college. These transition times are difficult for children and at the same time, they may encounter drug users and a variety of drugs.
You Can Make a Difference
You don’t have to be the “most awesome” parent in the world, but being there makes a huge difference. Having a strong bond with your child will help keep him or her from doing drugs, especially if you are a positive role model who does not do drugs or use alcohol.
Talking with your child about drugs and alcohol frequently will keep the child aware of your position regarding drug abuse. Having your child become active in a faith-based organization, athletic activities, school activities, or community activities will help keep your child from associating with the wrong types of people and will give him or her an outlet for activities.
Being interested in what your child does, who his or her friends are, and where they go is vitally important to ensure that the child will not associate with drug users.
Get Your Teen the Treatment They Need
If your child is struggling with substance abuse, there are programs available that can help. Destinations for Teens provides a range of programs and services that help teenagers and their families heal and recover. Some of our options include the following:
- Teen residential treatment
- Teen partial hospitalization program
- Intensive outpatient program
- Mental health treatment
- Therapeutic services
- Anxiety treatment
- Depression treatment
- Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief): What are the early signs of risk that may predict later drug abuse?, National Institute of Drug Abuse, October 2003, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents/chapter-1-risk-factors-protective-factors/what-are-early-signs-
- Preventing Drug Use among Children and Adolescents (In Brief):What are the highest risk periods for drug abuse among youth?, National Institute of Drug Abuse, October 2003, http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/preventing-drug-abuse-among-children-adolescents/chapter-1-risk-factors-protective-factors/what-are-highest-risk
- Growing up Drug Free: A Parent’s Guide to Prevention, US Department of Education, http://www2.ed.gov/about/offices/list/oese/oshs/growingupdrugfree.pdf