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It’s not too late. You can still get help.

Your teen was once a happy, successful student with lots of friends.

Now he’s disrespectful, defiant and wearing a sweatshirt hood drawn up over his face and pants hanging low. The kids he is bringing home have reputations for finding trouble.

Suspect your child is using drugs, drinking alcohol or smoking cigarettes?

Even if you believe he’s just “experimenting,” it’s important to take action immediately.

Casual drug use can quickly turn into long-term drug abuse and can lead to accidents, legal trouble, and serious health issues.

You should intervene by:

  • Loving him. Loving him. Loving him. It may seem that a body snatcher has come along and taken the place of your child. But this is still your son. Find ways to put aside your anger and fear. Let him know you are angry and afraid because you care deeply about him. Give him a hug and a pat a couple of times a day, even if you don’t feel like it.
  • Finding strengths in your child. Identify the things that are going well, however small. These are the things you can build on to develop better self-esteem and improve communication. Compliment your child whenever you can to strengthen the connection between you.
  • Reassuring him: Let your child know that you see through the bad behavior to the talented, smart kid he is. He is valued for who he is. Be prepared to tell him honestly what you think his strengths really are. Ask him what he has in mind for himself? What would help him realize those dreams? How can you help?
  • Talking with a professional. Meet with a psychiatrist, drug counselor or school guidance counselor who is familiar with substance abuse. Let your child know that people get involved with illegal drugs because of something else in their lives. Make it clear that you care enough about you daughter to find out what’s troubling her.
  • Explaining that rules are rules. Using drugs is illegal and risky behavior. Remind her that it is a parent’s responsibility to help their kids grow up healthy and emotionally strong. It’s your job to keep him out of jail and avoid getting poisoned by drugs.

(Information courtesy of Partnership For a Drug-Free America and psychcentral.com)

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