Talking to your child about their drug addiction

If you have a reason to believe that your child may be using illegal drugs, it’s likely that you will be very concerned, regardless of how old they are. Illegal drugs are prohibited for a reason: They are highly addictive and can result in fatal overdoses.

If you are concerned about your child’s possible drug use, it is important that you try to have a conversation with them. Make sure that you are sensitive to the circumstances, because, in some cases, you may push them away. The following are tips and considerations for when talking to your child about their possible drug use.

Don’t accuse them or act angrily

When you first learn that your child may be taking drugs, your immediate emotion may be one of anger and rage. This is understandable, but you should be aware that approaching your child in an aggressive manner could do more harm than good. Take the time to process the information you have, and think about how you may be able to approach your child in a way that will not make them defensive.

Show that you care

Your child might assume that you are intending to punish them by raising the issue. Show instead that you are not interested in punishing them, but rather that you want to help them. Give them choices and let them know that there are ways to address addiction that can help them recover.

Highlight the legal repercussions

It’s important that your child is also aware of the far-reaching legal repercussions that drug use can have. High school and college-age young people are often unaware of how drug use can hinder their career opportunities in many years to come. They may also be complacent about how highly addictive illegal drugs can be, as well as the dangers associated with them. If your child has already been in trouble with the law, you may be able to offer them help with navigating the legal process.

It’s important that neither you nor your child underestimates the seriousness of illegal drug use. Make sure that you fully understand the legal repercussions of your child’s situation before having a serious conversation with them.