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Reality Check: The Dangers Of Parental Denial

The dangers of parental denial come in many forms. Parents with a checkered past may assume their child will “grow out of it.” Those with no substance abuse history often see the issue as being behavioral. Other parents are so afraid of their child falling behind they will look the other way as long as “the grades are ok.” Teenagers and young adults with substance abuse issues are laser focused on one goal: to keep getting high and not get caught. Denial

Don’t Confuse The Issue

Most young people who abuse drugs and alcohol have other emotional issues to tackle. However, there is little to no chance any teenager will be willing to face his or her demons while still actively using. Until a drug abusing adolescent gets sober, attempts to “reach” him or her fall short. Parents who look for the cause of the problem prior to seeking help often remain in denial. The reality is that without removing drugs and alcohol from the equation it is unlikely there will be any clarity on emotional or other issues. A better idea is to have the person suspected of having a drug problem evaluated by a professional.

Times Have Changed

The world has changed drastically over the past thirty years. The numbers of young people drinking alcohol or using drugs to the point of abuse have continued to rise. A dangerous assumption many parents who grew up in the 1970s or 1980s make is that the partying culture in high school or college is the same as when they were growing up. These adults believe that because they were able to “grow out of it” their kids should be able to do the same. In reality the kinds of drugs being used, the potency of these chemicals, and the general acceptance of drug and alcohol abuse is radically different. As a result of these changes the likelihood that a teenager who experiments with drugs or alcohol winding up with a serious problem are greatly increased. If a parent suspects their child may be using drugs or alcohol, they should seek counseling.

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