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Considerations for Addressing Your Teenager's Drug Use

Recovery Frameworks provides intervention and case management services. Meaning we work with families to help them navigate how to be useful and helpful to an individual struggling with substance use. As a result, we get many calls from families concerned about their teenage daughter or son's substance use. It can be very difficult to address as a family unit. Being skillful at something requires practice, and families have rarely had practice at dealing with such sensitive subjects. Adolescence is a time of great change and uncertainty, and it's essential to approach the situation with sensitivity and empathy. We felt it may be helpful to lay out some of the more universal truths that we provide to the families that we work with here. If you still have questions afterwards, please reach out.

1. Respect their autonomy

One of the most critical things to remember

when addressing your teenager is to respect their autonomy. Adolescents are often striving for independence, and it's essential to involve them in the decision-making process. It's crucial to explain the reasons for your concern, rather than assuming they should know better, and help them understand the benefits of the proposed changes. Giving them a sense of control over the situation can help them feel empowered and more invested in change.

2. Take their emotions into account

It's no secret that teenagers can be very emotional, and confrontation can sometimes trigger strong reactions. It's crucial to approach the situation with empathy and understanding. Let them know that you understand how difficult it can be to make changes and that you're there to support them. Being compassionate and offering emotional support throughout the process can help your teenager feel more comfortable and secure.

3. Involve their support network

Teenagers rely on their support network. That includes you, the parents. It also includes teachers, peers, and any other community they may be a part of, now or in the past. When trying to make a significant change, it's essential for your teenager to have a support network that creates a sense of community and provides additional support when they need it and you can not provide it. Let them know that they're not alone and that you're all working together to help them achieve their goals. Use your intuition here. If any peer or party knowing about substance use would cause harm then do not go behind your teenager's back to tell them.

4. Monitor progress and adjust as needed

Finally, it's important to monitor the teenager's progress as changes take place and to adjust the approach as needed. Adolescents are constantly growing and changing, so it's crucial to be flexible and adaptable to ensure that the process and your support remain effective. Being open to feedback from your teenager, and really respecting it, and making changes as needed can help create a more positive and successful outcome.


In conclusion, confronting a teenager requires sensitivity, empathy, and a willingness to adapt. Respecting their autonomy, taking their emotions into account, involving their support network, and monitoring progress are all essential considerations to keep in mind. With these strategies in mind, you can help lay the groundwork for your teenager to make healthy decisions that set them up for a successful life.

If you have tried everything and can not seem to get through to your loved one, an intervention or case management services may be necessary. Reach out and we will help you understand the resources that are available to you and guide you through the difficult process of confronting your teenager.


Disclaimer: Recovery Frameworks offers a non-clinical support service. The services and programs provided by Recovery Frameworks do not include medical advice, including diagnoses, medical care, or clinical treatment. Services should only be used in conjunction with the guidance and care of your doctors, therapists, consultants, and/or providers in part of your treatment team.

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