Should you be worried?

Parents want to believe the best about their kids. But sometimes there are signs that trouble even the most trusting parent.

Maybe a bottle of wine is missing. Or maybe you heard your teen’s friends talking about drinking at a party. When is it time to worry… and what should you do?

The signs

The signs can be a difficult topic because they also could represent typical teen behavior: mood swings, or not wanting to share with parents. It could be that your child is disrespecting you or your family rules. Maybe small items of value have gone missing.

One recommendation is to address the issue head-on. Parent Further suggests that starting an open and honest conversation is the place to start. “Many kids respect a direct, honest approach; if you think your child is drinking, it may be best to just ask them directly. Don’t be condemning or judgmental—just try to get the facts.”

Wondering how to start the conversation? There are plenty of tips from experts, including child psychologists at the Partnership for Drug-Free Children. Tips including how to prepare for the conversation, the best place and time for the talk, and suggestion on asking about your teen’s friends’ drug usage.

When you know there is a problem

Sometimes it is hard to ignore what’s going on. If you believe your child has been abusing drugs and alcohol, it’s not too late. There are ways to confront your child, set expectations and limits, and follow through with consequences. Visit Partnership for Drug-Free Kids for a complete tutorial on how to handle the situation.

If you believe your son or daughter might have a real substance abuse problem and need treatment, you have many resources available. Contact Shasta County Alcohol and Drug Treatment at 225-5200, or look up substance abuse treatment centers registered with the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.