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Tips for parents who suspect drug abuse with their college kids

Seeing your child go off to college is often difficult for many parents. You often reflect on your raising style and ponder whether they will be able to withstand the many pressures that accompany college. Fear and anxiety is common with parents but try not to jump to conclusions when it comes to your kid’s college behavior.

College life and the influences they will come across are bound to vary each semester and year. Perhaps you are noticing that with each visit, they are changing in a negative way. Your college kid might not have the same interests, or the same groups of friends. If you suspect drug use is a possibility for your son or daughter, consider these tips in approaching the topic with him/her.

Ask more, talk less – Show genuine interest and open-ended questions when your college kid is visiting. When you take over the conversation with your strongly held opinions, assumptions, or accusations, you lose their interest and you cancel out your influence. Talking less, allows emotional space for your young adult child to open up and talk to you. It also shows respect for their viewpoint and expressions.

Show unconditional love and support – Children who feel their parents are unconditionally loving and supportive while enforcing wisdom and boundaries feel safe opening up. When your child is struggling with an issue like drugs, they may be more prone to dropping hints or asking for advice when you have set the environment up to exude love and support.

Admit your own failures and struggles – Being vulnerable with your kids through your own peer pressure experiences can help them see that everyone is human and faced with negative influences. When you share your story, it can help your son or daughter see they are not alone and maybe open up to you down the road.

Parents love their children throughout every stage of their growth and development. There is help for students struggling with drug use in college. The shame can be reduced when you value the relationship over their behavior. College students may hit a bump in their road, but ultimately find the strength to choose a better path when their parents implement these tips regularly.

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