But continued alcohol and drug use will affect your child's behavior, attitudes and even choice of friends.
Here are some signs to look for, if you think that your child may be using:
- Most teenagers go through normal mood swings. But look for extreme changes -- one minute happy and giddy followed by withdrawal, depression, or fits of anger or rage.
- If you child is using, chances are he will begin hanging out with others with similar interests. Has your child suddenly turned away from his old friends? Is he hanging out with an older (driving age) group or with those that you suspect are using drugs?
- Has your child's attitude toward school suddenly changed? Have his grades gone from pretty good to very bad? Has he been skipping classes or school altogether?
- Have you noticed a change in appetite? Does your child suddenly have digestive problems. Has he been treated for medical conditions that might be attributed to substance abuse, like gastritis or ulcers? Have his sleeping patterns changed?
- Have you notice any alcoholic beverages missing? How about the medicine cabinet? Anything missing there? Have you found unexplained empty containers around the house or grounds? Any paraphernalia? Has he suddenly started smoking cigarettes openly?
- Has your child developed a negative attitude against anti-drug or anti-alcohol programs, materials or literature? Has he been in trouble with the law for any reason? Has he developed a bad attitude toward any authority figures in his life? Have you found that your child has generally become dishonest about things?
- Have you noticed a change in hairstyle or "fashion" choices? Is he suddenly using breath mints consistently? Has he lost interest in tidiness in his room or does he pay less attention to personal hygiene?
- Has anyone ever told you your child is drinking or using drugs? Do you know that he has "experimented." Has he suddenly developed the need for additional money, for vague or unexplained reasons? Have you ever seen him stagger? Or have you noticed any slurred speech? Changes in the pupils of his eyes, or redness or bloodshot eyes?
Here are some links to other pages that you might find helpful, if you suspect your child is using:
- If You Suspect Your Child Is Using...
Research tells us that kids who have good communication with their parents have a better chance of avoiding substance abuse.
What Should You Tell Your Child About Drinking?
Tips for parents from the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence.
Is Your Child Drinking?
Answering these questions may help you decide.
Information for Parents
Other pages which might be helpful to parents.