As a parent, choosing to drug test your teen can be one of the more difficult decisions you’ll make. You might be worried that your son or daughter is taking illegal drugs, but you might be concerned that asking your child to submit to a drug test will ruin your relationship with him or her. It’s important not to make a decision of this magnitude lightly, so we’ve created a guide to help you decide whether a home drug test for your teenager is a good idea.
First, let’s go through the reasons why you should drug test your child:
- Your teenager is already submitting to court-mandated drug testing.You may think that because your teen is being drug tested regularly by the authorities that it’s not important to test at home, but an independent drug test is always a good idea. Often, court-mandated drug tests give false results. A home drug test can help you defend your child if he or she receives a false positive on a test. It can also help you feel more confident in the results of the court-mandated tests.
- Your son or daughter has undergone a dramatic change in behavior.As teenagers grow up, their personalities are bound to change, but drastic changes in behavior, mood or personality are often a sign of illegal drug use. If you’ve noticed a major change in your child, it might be time to ask your child to submit to a home drug test. If the test comes back positive, you can get your child the help he or she needs. If it comes back negative, you have a good opportunity to talk with your child about his or her personality change and determine the driving force behind the change.
- A drug test can make it easier for your child to say “No.” Peer pressure is real. For a lot of kids, it can be difficult to tell their friends that they don’t want to smoke a joint or snort a little coke. Teenagers like to fit in, and that can be hard to do when their friends think they’re lame. Having to take a weekly drug test is a great excuse for your child to avoid making a bad decision.
Drug testing your teenager isn’t all rainbows and sunshine, though. Asking your child to submit to a drug test can seriously jeopardize your relationship and even cause teenagers to feel like they have no place to turn. You should be especially cautious about damaging the parent-child bond when you’re drug testing teenagers. Another thing to be aware of is that it’s possible for teenagers to cheat on drug tests, causing you to miss drug use before it becomes a major problem.
If you do decide to drug test your teen, there are a few important guidelines you should be sure to follow:
- Drug testing should always be voluntary. Forcing a child to take a urine screen test or any other kind of drug test is a quick way to ruin your relationship and cause emotional turmoil for the teenager.
- Properly record your child’s test results. Keeping good records of the test results can help you better understand your child’s behavior and drug use patterns.
- Talk to your teen about the dangerous effects of illegal drugs. Help your child understand the physical, emotional and legal ramifications surrounding recreational drug use.
- Get your child the help he or she needs. If your teen is using drugs, it’s vital that you get him the help he needs as soon as possible. There are a variety of rehabilitation and cessation options available to teens, so seek help promptly.