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When Drugs Enter Your Home

By Klaus Klein MA, Registered Clinical Counsellor

You know that things have really gotten bad, when you realize that your son or daughter is not only doing drugs and drinking, but now you find drugs hidden in your home. Rightfully so, you are upset, confused and afraid. Most importantly, you are not sure what to do. You may have had past experiences that end up in a shouting match and you don't want that to happen again.

So… what is the alternative?

Here's What You Can do -

Don't get caught in the argument trying to convince your son or daughter the hazards of doing drugs or trying to change their stance or opinion on drugs. This approach usually exacerbates the situation leading to more arguing which leads to a greater distance between you.

Most teens already know about the hazards, does that stop them from trying and using? Usually not, even with all the facts that are presented by schools and you as the parents.

As adults we expect teens to be logical and then understand and accept our wisdom. The more you try to convince them to change, the more they don't want to listen. This can be become very frustrating, disappointing, and exhausting often leading to anger. Yes, curbing your temper is not always easy to do. But, if you want to resolve the situation effectively, you are going to have to be calm. This may require that you take a step back and ground yourself before grounding your teen. It also requires to have a clear picture of what you can control and what you're going to do about it. Remember that being in charge of a situation is different than trying to control another person's behaviour.

When ready, you can begin your discussion with your teen by making statements about what you see going on in your home. You can approach your teen letting him or her know that:

  1. Because you care and are concerned about the health and safety of your son or daughter you will be taking some actions that might be new to the ways things have been going in the home.
  2. You, as the parent are in charge and are responsible for the safety of the home.
  3. If you find any illegal substances, you will confiscate them and either dispose of them or give them to the school police liaison officer.
  4. Where you find it in your home is irrelevant -- this includes their room and clothes. While it may be their room, you're still responsible for what is in your house.
  5. If you do confiscate any illegal substances and your teen then decides to steal any money or possessions from your home because of their "loss", you will report it to the police. Just because your teen is stealing from their own home doesn't make it right. If someone came into your home and stole you would certainly report it --- your teen needs to honour the same boundary.
  6. If any of your teen's friends uses are brings drugs into the home the same rule applies to friends as well.

Keep in mind that you cannot always control what your son or daughter does outside the home but you're in charge of what goes on in your home. Being in charge in the home is an action that you can take anytime and be in control of.

Teens need a home environment that is safe and having some predictability in structure. This is your job as a parent to ensure this occurs. You'll feel better for being in charge and focusing on what you can control. You must hold your ground even though your teen is probably not going to respond well to the consequences.

Establishing rules and boundaries and then not following through is one of the biggest mistakes parents make. This only intensifies the problem so that next time your words will continue to be disrespected. Follow through with your actions and get support from other adults as well.

The safety and integrity of your home should be one of the centre pillars that you want to have in place. This can at times create more hostility in the short term because the teen is no longer getting their way around the house. Be prepared to stand in your values rather than in your emotions. In the long term teens also want a safe home to live in, especially when the day comes when they decide to use less or even quit. You want to know that your teen can tell his or her friends that they cannot keep, stash, or hide anything in the house that is illegal because the parents will take it away. That is a clear message and a clear boundary that starts with parents.

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Klaus Klein, MA, RCC
Phone: 604-786-0709

KDK Counselling services for the Burnaby area.

Klaus Klein - Parent and Teen Counsellor

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