The revelation that the child may be involved with alcohol & other drugs can be a terrifying prospect for any parent. In such instances, parents usually insulate themselves with the conviction that “this could never happen to my child”, but many experts agree such a belief is dangerous. Some adolescents are at a greater risk than others. According to a research, children who have alcohol consuming parents are four times more likely than other children to become alcoholics. Also at high risk are the teenagers who associate with a peer group that is already using drugs and addictive substances.
Adolescence is a time of great anxiety & emotional turmoil. With growing age, children feel a sense of new found freedom & a desire to test the boundaries of that freedom. In their desire in “fit in” & be “cool”, they may venture into new experiences they have never tried before. In fact, they may feel that smoking and drinking are a normal rite of passage in their age and they can do whatever they want. In a desire to express new sensations and to develop new friendships, youngsters might even justify their risky behaviors — for instance, sharing a marijuana cigarrette at a party to show they are part of the crowd.
Lets go back to your doubts & suspicions, based on your child’s change in behavior, appearance and relationships. You may even have clear evidence of drug use. Perhaps you have found some black sticky matter concealed in a piece of paper or bottle of wine or whisky hidden in the closet – what do you do?
Firstly don’t blame yourself. Your child’s issue with alcohol or other drugs does not mean you are a bad parent. Your guilt will not serve any purpose; It will only burden you. Taking sole responsibility for your child’s problems is emotionally tiring and counter productive. It is also important not to jump to conclusions about what these signs mean. It is crucial that you calmly & carefully set out to talk with your child to find out as much as possible. An experienced addiction counselor & therapist can be an excellent resource you can bank upon.
Professionals in the field of addiction & alcoholism have long identified the four levels of involvement with alcohol & drugs: Use, Misuse, Abuse/ early addiction, addiction/harmful dependence.
The earlier you respond to your child’s drugs and alcohol involvement, the better. Just as early detection hightens the cure rate of cancers and other diseases, so too, does early intervention increase your chances of ending your child’s alcohol and drug use.
Intervention is generally defined as a series of actions undertaken by the family members & others to end a person’s drug & alcohol use. It is also defined as a specific event, during which family members & loved ones including friends, school counselors, drug treatment professionals negotiate with the addict with specific details about how his drugs & behaviors have caused harm and emotional turmoil for the family. While prevention aims to keep children from ever using alcohol and drugs, intervention is intended to put a stop to existing self destructive behavior.
No matter what level of drugs use your child has indulged in, it is important to take immediate interventions steps.
Typically parents who have been referred to learn intervention usually do so when their child reaches deteriovative stage (climax) of addiction. Yet experts belief intervention should occur early, if possible. Late stage involvement with drugs can lead to addiction problems such as home run away, violence, participation in gangs and violence, occult groups etc.
Many parents don’t become aware of their child’s addiction until it reaches its climax. Even then some parents are reluctant to face the signs that point to the problem. As a societal way of approaching the problem or addiction we blame parents for everything that goes wrong in their child’s life. When parents are judged so harshly they find it easier to deny than to accept and say that there is a problem.
Intervention help parents move to a new perspective. It was the child’s choice that lead to addiction. Intervention works by helping parents move beyond guilt and shame.