As a parent we all want to believe that our children could never possibly get into anything as serious as drugs. Despite our best efforts to protect them from the dangers of the world, however, we can’t always protect them.
The teenage years are known for being a time of self exploration and experimentation. In some cases this means engaging in risky behavior like getting caught up in drugs. While sometimes it may merely be experimentation, sometimes it could be a sign of something much more serious.
Drugs can be very dangerous for our health, not to mention addictive, so it’s important that as a parent you recognize the signs early on. By observing your teen and looking out for the warning signs, you can intervene and explain to them that drugs aren’t only dangerous for your health, but they can lead to serious legal problems. Here are some of the most common signs that your teenager may be doing drugs.
Changes in Behavior
One of the biggest indicators of drug use is obvious behavioral changes. While sometimes teenagers may have mood swings due to their hormones, drugs may make their mood swings much more apparent. They may become more withdrawn, and secretive, and you may start to notice their academic performance dropping.
The idea is to look for extreme changes in behavior, not so much subtle ones. The teenage years can often involve trying out different styles or friend groups, so just because you see your teenager experimenting with something like their clothing doesn’t always necessarily equate to drug use. Tread slowly before making assumptions.
Keep a close eye out for physical telltale signs like sunken eyes that are bloodshot. You also want to look at the size of their pupils, since extremely dilated eyes are a sign of drug use. Look for any marks on their arms, and notice any residue that may be on or around their nose.
Notice any coughing or overall neglect of their personal hygiene. Lastly, change in weight could be an indication of drug use. Extreme weight gain or loss is often a result of drugs.
Asking For Money
Let’s face it, most teenagers ask their parents for money at one point or another. Sometimes asking for $20 is perfectly innocent. However, if you notice they’re asking for money almost daily, and you’re not sure where this money is going, then it’s time to start doing some digging.
Notice if any money is missing from your wallet, or valuables around the home. If they insist the money they’re asking you for is for something in particular, ask them for receipts. It’s important to see where this money is going so you can confirm it’s not going to anything dangerous.
Remember, while these signs may indicate a potential drug problem, they are by no means a guarantee. Trust your gut, and talk to your teen openly. The more you can keep open lines of communication, the less likely they are to keep secrets from you.