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Involve Your Child in the Solution

In the end, what you do if you do find evidence of drug use is more significant than whether you override your teen’s right to privacy. If she could do it over again, Manlove would take a more collaborative approach to her son’s drug abuse. "I wish I had said to him, ‘I’m really worried about what I’m seeing. I want to be here to work with you and find a solution together.’"

Swick recommends just such an approach to the parents she works with. "You don’t want to leave your child feeling isolated and panicked," she says. Whatever you do or say, letting your child know she can lean on you should be a big part of the message. "If possible, your child should feel somewhat relieved to be able to talk to you," Swick says.

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