“Row row row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily merrily merrily merrily, life is but a dream”. At times we all sit back and reflect on this dream. In life there is so much more to offer than there is time to accomplish it. Due to this, we understand only a fragment of what our existential meaning boils down to. Yet we all look to the stars and wonder.
For some we think of God. We think of love. We think of life lessons(possibly somebody else’s, possibly our own). Then we think of our children. We hope and pray that life will be less harsh to them than ourselves, after all, they are the future. If we can protect them and lead them in a positive direction, maybe their imminence is the fulfillment of at least doing something right in life.
Thinking deeper about their budding possibilities, we also know the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree in most instances; this includes the good, the bad, and the ugly. They’re going to need all the extra help they can if they’re anything like those of us dealing with alcoholic thinking. Yet even with somebody free of the disease of alcoholism, this doesn’t mean at all that the fruit of their loins won’t become a number in the masses still.
Most addicts/alcoholics commonly show signs of their disease at an early age, frequently starting usage in early to late stages of adolescence. More often than not, the unsuspecting parent is then typically ambushed by the surprise appearance of their child’s addictive qualities. Addiction statistics are always rising and an opioid epidemic raids middle America. Unfortunately though, sometimes these pipe dreams we have are not enough. This is why it’s vital to know the signs if your child is using and how to get them help.
Signs Your Child Is Using
When we the parent finally open our eyes to the seemingly innocent behaviors of our kiddos, we may find that everything isn’t as it seems always. Naturally children are curious. This applies to the two year old crawling around the bedroom as well as the fourteen year old angstily lying around the house. In different ways, there is so much naivety taking place on both ends of the spectrum. The only difference is on one end there’s studying different types of diapers and on the other there is studying the signs of if your child is using.
For most adolescents, experimentation is normal, but there is a fine line to be crossed still. The discretion of every parent will likely be different and is up to them. Keeping an open relationship and discussing matters in an understanding way will be the best means for staying in tune with them. Once they begin hiding everything, that’s when we cue the worrying.
So the most common substances the youth tend to seek out first are marijuana and alcohol. These are two easy substances to smell off of your youngster. Look for red eyes, slurred speech, or impaired motor function. Empty beer cans, bottles, or joint papers may appear unexpectedly in a trash can as well. Habits and behaviors of their will begin to change too. Keeping our eyes peeled from there on out is important because for most addicts/alcoholics, as much as I wish I could say the opposite, it doesn’t stop there.
Signs Your Child Is Using More
Eventually down the road, the addict/alcoholic will start looking for other substances that are stronger and give a different effect. This is a problem, but will also make the signs your child is using more apparent. Some of the chemically inclined will move onto narcotics such as:
- Cocaine/Crack Cocaine
- Party Drugs/Research Chemicals
Addiction will wreak havoc no matter what the substance dujour is, but some of these drugs will create powerless and unmanageability in a split second. Rapid weight loss or weight gain is something to watch. Sleeping for hours or staying up for days is another. Often times with addiction there is no middle ground and we will see our kiddos far on one end of the spectrum or the other. Likely their grades and hygiene will decline while a bad attitude is present at all times. Whatever their addiction is to, signs your child is using will likely stick out like a sore thumb. What’s most important is it doesn’t go unignored.
How to Get Them Help
It’s our duty as parents to figure out how to get them help, to the best of our ability. Most sensible parents don’t wish any harm upon their seedlings and will go so far out of their way to prevent it. At the same time, many parents are unequipped for dealing with the irrationality that alcoholic thinking will deliver upon their child. Despite their age, most addicts are unwilling to accept their ‘ism’ right from the get-go. It will take talking, understanding, and reasoning to get them to a place of wanting help. Unfortunately though, acceptance doesn’t always come that easy. One of the oldest clichés in the book applies here, “you can always lead a horse to water but you cannot force it to drink”.
Sometimes forced treatment is a necessary precaution to saving your son/daughter’s life. Simply “grounding” them may not be enough. We can take away their substances/paraphernalia and we can take away their privileges but you can’t end addiction/alcoholism just through that method. Much of the time educational changes, intervention, or adolescent treatment are obligatory depending on the urgency of the situation.
Medication assisted treatment may be recommended in some cases. It’s really a matter of doing some research and understanding what’s available for your progeny. It may be stressful too, but in the end, it’s important to find something that works best for your child.