If you discover your child is using marijuana, you may be struggling with numerous emotions. From feeling upset about your child’s substance use to experiencing a sense of guilt regarding actions you could have taken, adolescent drug abuse is a reality many parents face. Due to perceptions regarding the safety of use and the movement to legalize marijuana, adolescents are increasingly at risk to begin experimenting with the drug. As parents, it can be difficult to navigate this terrain, but it is important to engage with your child as soon as possible to address the problem before it gets out of hand.
If Your Child is Using Marijuana
In many cases, knowing your child is using marijuana is half the battle. Many adolescents will go to great lengths to conceal substance use from their parents. Finding evidence of marijuana use can be an emotional experience, but it can also help you prepare for how to move forward in addressing your child. You may find drug paraphernalia or may notice physical and behavioral changes in your son or daughter. Approaching your child about suspected drug use can be a stressful experience so be sure to consider the following:
- Wait until your child is sober to start the conversation
- Understand that anger or hostility will not help the conversation – instead, focus on communicating your concern in a less confrontational way
- Have evidence or examples that cannot be disputed to remove your child’s ability to deny use
- Have ideas about solutions to help them stop using marijuana
- Be clear that drug abuse will not be tolerated and prepare consequences of use should your child continue use – be prepared to follow through on those ramifications as well
- Provide ways you can reconnect with your child and establish trust again
- Be responsive to your son or daughter’s efforts to change their behaviors
Depending on the severity of your child’s individual situation, you may also consider using an interventionist to help facilitate these conversations. They can provide an outside perspective that can help you manage your feelings and approach the topic in the best way possible. Additionally, interventionists can help you and your child transition into next steps; often times, this may mean beginning treatment for addiction.
Treatment for Marijuana Abuse
After approaching your child about using weed, you may see entering treatment as the next step for your child’s recovery. While in some cases, a person can stop using marijuana without professional assistance, a marijuana treatment program can help equip your child with the tools they need to manage their sobriety effectively. Marijuana use can also be accompanied by co-occurring mental health disorders. Substance abuse may develop as a method of self-medicating for certain conditions making professional treatment an important step for most.
While many argue that marijuana is not an addictive substance, it can cause dependencies to develop in which a person must use marijuana to feel normal. The earlier in life a person begins using the drug, the more likely they are to develop an addiction. Signs your child may need professional help include:
- Experiencing cravings for the drug
- Increased tolerance leading to higher dosages/increased frequency of use
- Cutting back on other areas of life for marijuana
- Inability to stop using the drug
Therapy for marijuana addiction may include a variety of treatment methods. The goal of treatment is to help young adults and adolescents develop coping mechanisms for stressors and other triggers that they may usually use drugs to treat. Therapy often focuses on helping your child develop problem-solving skills and changes in lifestyle to support a healthier approach to challenges. Rather than relying on marijuana to escape stressors, your child is encouraged to develop the independence and confidence to manage sobriety effectively. In addition, your child will also be equipped with the tools needs to reduce the likelihood of relapse and feel comfortable in saying “no”.
Marijuana abuse can have numerous adverse effects on your child’s physical and mental health. Regardless of what treatment methods you choose to pursue, it is important to intervene early and work with your child to help them overcome addiction. Starting the conversation is an important first step, and with the aid of numerous resources, you can help your child receive the right treatment for marijuana use.
Have questions regarding how to help your son or daughter get the help they need?
Call 800.465.0142 to speak with an admissions counselor.