It is no secret that drug use is a widespread concern, not only for adults but for young people as well. As it becomes increasingly normal to use drugs in high school and maybe even younger, parents and teachers are doing what they can to fight this pandemic. Many parents have found that at-home drug testing makes it easy for them to know whether or not their student is involved in drug use. Inexpensive screening kits are more available than ever, making it quite simple to regularly screen young people at home. Is this a good idea? Here are several things to consider.
The Benefits of Regular Drug Testing
Knowledge Is Power
When you decide to do a drug test on your child, you accept the fact that you may find either a negative or a positive result. Knowing that the outcome may be exactly what you do not want is a bit scary as a parent. However, you would rather know the truth than stay blissfully ignorant. After all, the sooner you discover whether or not your child is experimenting with drug use, the sooner you can help them address the issue. Doing drug tests can give you the knowledge you need to approach the situation in a healthy and helpful way.
A Way to Say No
Peer pressure is a big deal for your students. Although it may be easy to promise not to use drugs when they are safe at home and away from their classmates, saying no in the moment is a lot more difficult. This does not mean that your student is weak-willed or has no character. It simply means they have a human nature that sways with the community. If your teens are pressured into drug use by peers, they can say, “My parents drug test me,” as an easy and effective exit strategy.
The Concerns of Regular Drug Tests
A Right to Privacy
Do students have a right to privacy? Remember, although younger with less life experience, all human beings deserve respect. They may feel like regular drug tests violate their privacy, especially as they grow older and begin to make more and more decisions on their own. It is important to listen to them if they express these concerns.
Don’t You Trust Me?
This is a question your child will probably ask right away when you bring up the issue of at-home drug testing. They may feel hurt and confused, and it is perfectly okay for them to feel this way. Also, they want to be considered responsible and able to make decisions as they transition from childhood to adulthood, and this is hard to do when they feel like they are treated like a child. They want to know that you trust them to make the right decision for themselves.
The Path of Mutual Respect
In the end, there is no single answer to this issue that will fit every situation. You and your child have to talk about what is best for your family and your relationship. Listen to them and respect them in the same way you want them to listen to and respect you. Let them know they have a voice in the conversation. This will go a long way in not only resolving the issue but also strengthening your parent-child relationship. Remember, this relationship is valuable and you do not want to put it in jeopardy. Consider the following tips for when you need to have that conversation.
First and foremost, let your student know you care about them. You want to take steps to keep them safe and healthy – you are not trying to control them. Secondly, make sure they understand that one bad decision is not the end of the world. Sure, you may be disappointed by a positive test, but you can talk and work through it together. You are a team, not enemies. Thirdly, it may help to remind your child that things like background checks and drug screenings are used for jobs in the real world. You are not trying to treat them like a child, you are preparing them for a responsible and healthy adult life.
Learn More About Drug Testing Your Child
Drug use is not an easy topic to bring up with your child. However, an open and honest discussion is by far the best path for both your student and you. If you need support in this journey, feel free to get in touch. We are on your team!