How Can I Keep My Younger Son Safe From My Older Son’s Substance Use?
Younger siblings can suffer when there is substance use in the family. It’s important to consider a plan for all children in the family.
We work with a special group of moms and dads – Parent Coaches – who, just like you, have been affected by a child’s substance use. They are volunteers who receive special training from the Partnership and our clinical partner in order to help other families through similar struggles. In these blog posts, they answer parents’ most frequent questions.
This is a very personal decision that will vary from family to family based upon the needs of your child. Drug screens, monitoring cell phones and internet use, managing money, monitoring use of the car, etc., can be ways to monitor a child, but these are decisions that are very personal for each family. For example, many parents don’t want to get involved with drug testing while others find it provides peace of mind. Likewise, some children find that money is a significant trigger to use, so having a family member or someone else manage it for a while can be helpful.
Whatever you decide to do, it’s important to be clear about what you are doing and why. It’s also helpful to put a time limit on it, meaning that you will monitor the behavior for a month (or whatever length of time you determine) and then reassess the situation with your child to see if any aspects of monitoring warrant changing.
It’s also helpful to reinforce all of the positive behaviors you see — a negative drug screen, being home on time, blocking old using buddies, prudent use of money, etc. While it may seem that these are behaviors they should be engaging in, you want to encourage them to repeat the behavior.