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What if my child may have a problem?

Your son or daughter is using alcohol or other drugs and you’re worried. Maybe you’ve tried to change his behaviour and feel frustrated and hopeless when you are unsuccessful. What do you do?

  • Realize the biggest advantage your child has is you as a caring and concerned parent.
  • Evaluate your child’s use. You can contact an Alberta Health Services counsellor or look to our parent information series for more information.
  • Accept that you can’t force you child to stop. You can’t control your child, but you do have considerable influence.
  • Recognize you can control your behaviour, the amount of knowledge and understanding you have about the problem, and to some extent the environment your child is in – for example when you set rules and consequences or change the way you respond to your child, you are affecting their environment.
  • Check to make sure you aren’t “reacting or protecting.” By reacting negatively (nagging, yelling, complaining or threatening) your child may decide you are the problem, not his use of drugs or alcohol. By protecting your child from the consequences of use (writing notes to explain absences from school, paying fines, or bailing him out if he is arrested) you are helping your child continue to use.

Know there are many treatment options available. There are a variety of treatment services, from outpatient counselling to intensive day treatment with residential support. For more information and to find an addiction services office near you, please call the 24–hour Help Line at 1-866-332-2322 (Alberta only). 

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