There are times when I have the privilege to sit down and talk with other adults that deal with teen substance abuse issues and our conversations often leave me with even greater insights and sadly far too much confirmation of what I already know to be true.
Here's what scare me folks - the deterioration of the family unit; family's are dysfunctional and then there is second generation addiction... scary, scary stuff. Listen, I am truly not blaming parents for all the drug use and addiction within our teen population -that would be crazy talk. But what I do know is there are far too many hurting young ones out there and someone needs to start listening, really listening to them. Not listening and thinking at the same time 'what can I do to fix this'? We need to be listening first - to them without interjection... just hear them. Spend some time empathizing with them, their pain, their problems. Guess what that big break up with the boy/girlfriend is devastating to your young one. Now is not the time to minimize it. Their feelings, their emotions, their reactions are real - just because we as parents don't necessarily find their problems really "problems" - (in our minds we're thinking - just wait until you have to face REAL problems). What we see as tiny little issues are often huge mountains they are trying to figure out how to climb.
What you may not be "hearing" underneath are all the thoughts about drugs, alcohol, sex etc.... listen... shhhh... listen... to what may not be spoken...
It truly isn't enough to ask your young one what's wrong and just take the stock answer "nothing" or "you wouldn't understand" and leave it go. That's surely an easy approach to take... well he/she said I wouldn't understand, they're probably right so why bother. Or maybe it's this thought process if I do try and understand you'll only end up in another confrontation... easy out. I've done that one myself. I am so not in the mood for a teenage confrontation tonight... hard day at the office, still have dinner to make etc. forget it I'll let it pass. I just told you I've played that card and regret every time I have done so. I think of how many opportunities I missed with my daughter. Opportunities to communicate, to hear her, to let her know I HEAR HER.
Our young ones want direction, they long to trust us with their hearts. Broken families leave them wondering where does trust and stability play a factor in their family. Busy lives leave us with barely enough time to shower and of course as adults with so much responsibility we need our "me time" as well. I agree... "me time" is important but it is never more important than kid time. Never! As parents we have a responsibility first and foremost to those children which God has entrusted us to love, guide and raise up to the best of our ability. And yes we all make plenty of mistakes.
If you've tried to get your young ones into a conversation and have failed, don't give up. Try another tactic... another time, another situation but come on folks don't just give up. They need you and this is far too important - you must give it your all!
Blessings... remember when you are feeling like you just can keep going... look up and remember to draw your strength of the Father of all creation.