As a parent, it’s never a good feeling to think a son or daughter might be lying. And, it’s natural for a mother or father to want to believe their children, no matter how tall the tale or what the circumstances. But many a parent has been fooled by his or her kids when it comes to the use of drugs.
A team of investigators for WebMD wanted to determine the extent of teenage lying that occurs to cover drug use. A sample of 400 adolescents was asked to confirm or deny the use of cocaine, and responses were then compared to hair sample tests for the drug. Regardless of the fact that the test would reveal the truth, teens still denied use. Results uncovered a 52 percent higher prevalence of cocaine than was reported by teens in the survey. Researchers were not surprised by the outcome as many teens don’t fully consider the impact of ‘what happens next’.
5 Ways Parents Can Help Their Kids’ Lying And Drug Use
- Don’t get offended – Realize that most teens, at some point, don’t tell their parents the truth. However, it’s still important to let kids know that lying is not okay. It may be helpful to talk about the reasons behind the lie to get a better idea regarding the motivation for not wanting to tell the truth. Also, address how to confront such situations more effectively in the future.
- Be an informed parent – Some parents don’t know the signs of drug use, and therefore, wouldn’t be able to tell if something was amiss. However, keeping abreast of new drug trends and symptoms is critical to early intervention and treatment. Parents can visit drugabuse.gov or drugfree.org to learn about common substances and side effects.
- Seek assistance – No parent likes to admit that his or her child is using drugs. But trying to hide the situation to avoid judgment is not in the best interest of the child. Reach out to the family physician and even the child’s high school counselor to gain insight regarding the best course of treatment.
- Consider different parenting styles – Being too strict or too lenient can often play into adolescence substance abuse. It may be necessary to adjust parenting styles based on the child and type of situation. While some kids may need more love and reassurance, other may need increased structure and rules. Interestingly, the teens in the survey expressed a need for parents to step up and be parents and not friends. While friends might encourage risky decision making and lying to cover up, a parent has a greater responsibility to love and ensure their children remain safe, even if decisions will not be accepted by their children with open arms.
- Listen to your gut – Chances are, if you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. Parents should not ignore concerns they have surrounding a child’s behavior as turning a blind eye is one of the worst things parents can do. Experts say parental involvement is key in deterring teen drug abuse.
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