We often hear parents of youths near the end of the school year planning the summertime vacation with the whole family at the cottage and lake in northern Ontario. Or even just a road trip to a water park resort. No matter the destination, you can envision the whole family together, smiling and having a good time. But this year something is different, the little kids are not so little anymore. Your vacation plans are being hindered and have less appeal to your child.
Their friends stay in town, getting summer jobs. Others are “hang out.” Your son or daughter may begin to say things like “again! We have been there so many times” or “there’s nothing to do at the cottage. It’s boring.” These comments and similar remarks are signs of self-expression.
Your son or daughter is asserting their self-determinism and independence. It is a form of ‘breaking away from the nest’ in sorts. If you force them to stick with the vacation plan, they then rebel. If you give in, you feel you’re losing control. The truth is that you need to let them express their self-determinism and experience the world for themselves and begin the road to adulthood.
But beware; you also need to know how to guide them through the jungle, lies and betrayals this society offers. Summertime is a time of opportunity; your daughter or son may have done a great year with their studies. They want to stick around the city like their peers and get a part-time job or some such thing. Maybe they want the newest IPad or IPhone or ticket to a concert and will pay for it themselves. It is a responsible direction and considered proper upbringing. Your son gets his first paying job at a fast food place and is really happy about his first paycheck.
As the weeks move on you, realize he is coming home later and later. Has trouble getting up in the morning; says, “too tired to do weekend chores.” He begins to avoid your questions; he is in and out without notice. His appearance takes on a mysterious and backstreet look. Or your daughter starts to dress like she is going to a fancy nightclub, behaves as if you never understand her, and makes a point of it, becomes distant and withdrawn. All these observations are signs of possible drug or alcohol abuse.
In many cases, some friend or acquaintance will influence a young adult to try some mind-altering drug for the first time. It occurs because of trust and friendships. In other words, “a friend would not think of causing any harm.” Of course, it is false!
In Ontario, drugs like marijuana, cocaine, prescription pills such as Xanax or fentanyl are easily found on the streets and in clubs. But in the summertime, when youths are out and about, drug dealers are on every significant gathering spot; parks, beaches, lakes, and boardwalks. One can even find dealers in the most remote camping grounds.
Drugs are big business across Ontario. But you, as a parent, how do you deal with your child’s possible drug abuse? How can you be sure your child is or is not using drugs? And what are your options when you do find out they have a summertime drug addiction?
If not dealt with before the end of summer, you can be certain that your child’s next school year will be, for the most part, a failure. They may very well give up on school altogether.
Your best and most lasting solution to substance abuse in Ontario is to talk with a drug rehab referral counsellor. Learn about the available treatment programs in Ontario and how to enter one. If you or someone you know is suffering from drug abuse, call our toll-free number, a treatment center referral counsellor is standing by.