A How-to-Guide for Teen Drug Use Intervention
Interventions can be awkward but important for the sake of a beloved child in the midst of addiction. Whether a person knows for sure if a child is doing drugs or just suspects as much, it is important to talk to the child about drug use and when to try an intervention. It is almost always a good time (unless the teen is high on drugs at that moment). Learn some tips to get started.
Basic Types of Interventions
Two basic types of interventions exist for suspected drug use: formal and informal.
Formal: formal interventions are ones all over television where groups of loved ones and perhaps a professional confronts a person with addiction. This type is usually used further down the road with long term loved ones struggling with addiction.
Informal: informal interventions are just a quiet conversation between the caregiver, partner and child or just the parent or caregiver and child if it is a single parent household.
Planning an Intervention
Here are some things to do when preparing an informal intervention.
Mornings are Best
There is no bad time to do an intervention but mornings are the best time to plan an intervention when most people are likely to have free time (when no work or school may interfere and the teen is likely to be sober.
Refrain from Drugs or Alcohol
Parents and caregivers risk looking like hypocrites if cigarettes or alcohol are used and the child sees this happening or notices the effects. Giving teens a reason to dismiss what is said will be the inevitable conclusion so it is best to have an open, honest conversation and abstain from these things prior to discussing this with the child.
Dry Runs Help
A dry run is the best way to know if a person is getting the point across to someone by practicing what to say out loud. Sit down ahead of time and explain what will happen and make sure it all is sensible and presented clearly and concisely.
Get armed with knowledge, facts on drugs the teen uses and find reputable sources. Find the drugs, take photos and present evidence. Simply tell the teen it is about concern for their safety this is happening and be prepared for hurtful comments, statements or defensive postures to emerge. Stay polite, but firm, when openly discussing this later.
The best way to fail at an intervention is to lose control of one’s temper. It sounds simple but the best way to proceed is with a calm face, demeanor and focus on letting go of guilt, accusations, yelling or crying and focus on how to help the teen.
If things heat up (which is possible), set a timer for a few minutes, come back and resume the discussion. Don’t be afraid to give each other space to finish the conversation a short time later to make sure it is with a calm, cool, level head on both sides.
Following the above tips will help stage an effective, informal intervention for the teen. With this in mind, it can be helpful to set goals and focus on what to do afterwards to help the teen get the necessary help and get focused on treatment for long term recovery.
Blueprints for Recovery provides tailored programs for young people who are seeking addiction treatment and recovery. If you are searching for a unique approach to youth addiction treatment, call us to find out how we can help your family and teen get well again.