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This content is from an educational collaboration between WebMD Editorial and StopMedicineAbuse.org.

6 Tips for Parents of Teens continued...

3. Don’t take it personally.

If you find out your child is lying about drugs, you may see red. You may feel hurt, angry, guilty, and betrayed. All of these emotions are understandable. And none of them will help you help your child.   

“First, recognize that lying is a normal teen behavior,” advises Turner. He goes on to say that normal or not, parents can and should teach their kids that lying is unacceptable. Your conversation with your child could cover the following ground:

  • Explore the reasons your child lied
  • Understand what is going on
  • Let your child know that lying is not OK
  • Talk about how to be honest in the future

4. Get help.

A lot of parents try to keep their child’s drug use within the family, Hedrick tells WebMD. “The idea that addiction reflects badly on the family keeps a lot of kids out of treatment until the problem is too big to ignore.”

Like diabetes or a broken bone, treating drug abuse requires expertise most parents don’t have. If your child is using drugs, you’ll have your hands full, even with a professional involved. Start by talking to your family doctor or pediatrician. The counselor at your child’s school may be able to recommend specialists or treatment centers that can help both you and your child.

5. Leave room to rebuild trust.

When parents don’t trust their kids, problems like drug abuse can snowball. Strained parent-child relations typically cast a negative tone on any and all interactions. Families tend do fewer things together, leaving kids fewer opportunities to feel connected to their parents. “Parents need to build a safe space for the child, while also defining boundaries and limits,” says Turner.

Try not to let the lies you’ve been told overshadow every conversation you have with your child. “So many kids in our groups say, ‘I never get a chance to talk. My parents cut me off all the time,’” says Hedrick. Open, two-way conversations can reinforce your child’s awareness of your family values and make the idea of drugs less appealing.

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