Testing Your Teen for Drugs And Why It’s Not a Good Idea

If you suspect that your teenager is abusing drugs, your first reaction may be to confront your son or daughter angrily. This, of course, is rarely effective. Your next plan may be to order a drug testing kit from the Internet and randomly screen your teen for drugs. While this may make more sense than giving your child a lecture, there can be negative consequences to drug testing at home. Here are a few reasons you may want to think twice before testing your teen for drugs.

The parent child bond may be compromised. If you test your child for drugs, you become the police or a medical professional to your teen. And that lessens the chances that your son or daughter will come to you to talk about he/she is using drugs. A health report for U.S. News suggests that teens don’t want to think of their parents in a law-enforcing, neutral sort of way. Even though your child is using drugs (or you suspect it), your teen still wants to feel that you are on their side. Drug testing could make your teen feel as though open conversations about drugs are prohibited in your household. This could lead to more secrets—and more drug use. If you think that your teen is experimenting with drugs, have an open conversation with your child. Don’t be judgmental—and don’t lose your temper when you hear the truth. Allowing your teen to bring another person into the conversation, like a trusted family friend or peer, may make the conversation easier for everyone, since your child will be faced with various viewpoints on the subject.

The results aren’t always accurate. Even if you do decide to test your teen for drugs, you may not get an accurate reading each time the test is administered. For instance, if your child has had the sniffles for the past few days and took any type of cold medicine, this may produce a positive test result—even if there are no illegal drugs in your teen’s system. Falsely accusing your child of taking drugs when he or she has stopped, or assuming that your child is taking drugs after getting a false positive from foods or medicine will no doubt damage your relationship with your teen. This will make it more difficult to have candid conversations about all the issues that will face your teenager during this time of life—not just drugs.

Information from home drug tests can be limited. Many of the drug tests that can be administered at home offer limited information. That is, you may not know how much of a substance your teen has taken, or how long your child has been experimenting with drugs. If you have valid reason to believe that your child is doing drugs, or know for a fact that your teen is abusing substances, a home drug test can be a first line of confirmation, but not always the best one.

Testing could make the problem worse. Teenagers are in a phase of life where they want to be treated like adults, but still want the perks that come with being children. If you test your teen for drugs, he/she will likely feel as though they are losing control. This could result in more rebellion—which often means more drug use. As a parent, you’ll have to be smart—and sometimes creative—about how you approach your teen when it comes to drugs. A drug test could make your teen feel as though you don’t trust him/her. Your teenager will likely turn to friends for comfort and understanding—and these friendships may lead to more drug use.

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One Response to “Testing Your Teen for Drugs And Why It’s Not a Good Idea”

  1. Kimberly | July 11, 2012 at 1:21 am #

    Had a friend in College (mom a life long Christian Scientist, which he suplsoedpy became, last I heard.) who through his research had access to some pretty pure pharmaceutical stuff.He always claimed that the original (often plant-based) drugs were usually better than “new and improved.”Seemed true in those days:Certainly chewing Coca leaves must have been a healthier habit than refined stuff, and recently had a stay at the hospital which luckily has an enlightened pain-management policy.Hard to imagine how morphine could be improved on, at least for me, but feel no “need” for it now that pain is gone.(Worry about living w/o non-steroidals from now on a bit tho, so if you have a post on a safe substitute for those, I would appreciate the tip.)

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