A divorce is a life-altering event for the entire family. When children don’t know how to deal with their feelings over their parents’ divorce, they can turn to substance abuse for solace. Researches have long pointed to the increased risk of substance abuse in kids before and after their parents’ divorce.
Adolescence is challenging enough under normal circumstances. However, when parenting time and custody are shared, the signs of drug use can go undetected. It is important to know the red flags, develop a cooperative relationship with your ex and for you two to work together to recognize and address adolescent drug use.
Red flags to look for if you suspect your child is using drugs
Stanford Children’s Health has published a list of possible signs of substance abuse in kids. Here are some of the red flags to look for:
- Evidence: The number one sign that your kids are involved with drugs is if you find actual evidence of drugs or paraphernalia in their possession.
- Peer pressure: If your child appears to be overly susceptible to the opinions and pressures of their friends, then they could be at risk. Teens that have friends that are already experimenting with drugs and alcohol tend to try them themselves.
- Evasiveness: A possible red flag of drug use is if your child is becoming increasingly secretive, evasive or starts lying.
- Odor: The nose knows. If you smell an unusual odor on your child’s breath or clothing, then it could be a sign they are using.
- Body language: Having dilated pupils, being aloof or sweating may be a sign of substance abuse. The body always tells the truth even when the mouth doesn’t.
There are numerous signs that your child may be struggling with drugs or alcohol. However, a parent’s instinct is a powerful tool if we listen to it. If your instinct tells you that something is going on with your child, you should listen to that inner voice.
If you feel that a child custody order modification could help keep your child under better supervision, then maybe it is time to explore your options before it is too late.