This blog was co-written by our Director of Family Services, Kari Bouldin, MA, LMFT.
Is what my child is struggling with really that bad? This is a common question parents ask themselves and others when dealing with a troubled teen. It is no secret making the decision about whether or not to send your child to a treatment facility is extremely difficult. According to the 2013 National Survey on Drug use and Health, there were 1.3 million adolescents ages 12-17 who were in need of treatment for an illicit drug or alcohol use problem. Sadly, only 9 percent received the help they needed.
When a teen has been honest about some of their wrongdoings, it may begin to feel like the substance abuse and behavioral issues are not urgent matters. However, it’s important to keep in mind the problems causing you great concern that are beyond what is typical for a teenager. Our Director of Family Services recommends taking a look at what life domains your child’s substance abuse is affecting:
- Has there been a decline in their academics? Remember, this does not necessarily mean they have begun failing their classes. Academic decline could mean your child has gone from being on the honor roll to receiving mostly C’s and D’s, they are skipping class, having behavior issues at school, etc.
- Is there a decline in behaviors at home? Has your teen become non-compliant with chores and household rules? Are you struggling to keep track of your teen due to them running away or staying out for 3-4 days at a time?
- Is your teen experiencing more mood changes than what you consider to be normal? Do they seem to be depressed or angry more frequently? This behavior could also include becoming more destructive around the house or hurting siblings and family pets.
- Is there increased family conflict due to your child’s behaviors? When a teen’s behavior becomes more constant and out of control, it will cause a ripple effect throughout the home.
If you can answer yes to one or more of the questions above, it’s important not to delay reaching out for help for your teen’s substance abuse, mental health or behavioral issues. There could be far worse consequences down the road if struggling teens do not receive the help they not only need, but deserve.
People, Places and Things
There are many benefits to choosing inpatient treatment for teens struggling with substance abuse. Choosing not to receive residential treatment or seeking a lower-level of care keeps teens surrounded by the people, places and things they have built this lifestyle around. In turn, this creates the potential for them to move into worsening behavior. Taking teens out of their environment removes them from the access to drugs and/or alcohol as well as the triggers that are causing them to behave this way.
When teens are in a group, the actions of the group become paramount to them. This is where peer pressure comes in, and teens become easily influenced by those surrounding them. Removing teens from the negative peer group is critical. While in treatment, teens have the opportunity to create a positive support group with people their age that can help them build the confidence they need to say no. In addition, teens are placed a therapeutic environment where they will learn how to change and what to change in order to stay away from the negative influences upon returning home.
The Life Your Teen and Family Deserve
Your family and your teen deserve to live differently than the way you are living right now. When a child is acting out and drinking or using drugs, parents often take on the roles of a jailer, police officer, detective and more. There is no denying the chaos and conflict that starts when substance comes into the picture. Ask yourself these questions: Do you object to getting rid of chaos? Do you object to getting rid of conflict? Do you object to restoring your teen and your family? If you’ve answered no to any of these questions, it’s time to reach out for help for your teen.
If your teen is struggling with substance abuse, mental health or behavioral issues, contact the Teen Treatment Center today. Don’t delay taking the first step to restoring your child and family: (844)319-5239
- Don't Delay Sending Your Teen to Treatment: Location
- Don't Delay Sending Your Teen to Treatment: Unwillingness
- Am I Enabling My Teen?
- The Admission Process at Teen Treatment Center