An intervention is crucial as soon as you discover your teen is using drugs and alcohol. Why? Recreational use can turn into abuse and addiction, and ruin their future dreams as well as yours. So, taking the issue seriously is mandatory. Making excuses for your teen where you condone the behavior by saying “it’s not as bad as it appears,” or you brush off the behavior as “what all teens are doing these days” will set your teen up for a lifetime of failure where they realize they can manipulate others to continue with destructive behavior. You must accept and confront the behavior to make changes. If you do not take this seriously, you will sabotage your teen’s future.

If your teen is acting out, then getting to the root of the problem will help to solve the issue. This is easier said than done, so let’s see if we can find some solutions that can work for you.
Objective to Master-
Open up the lines of communication with your teen so you can understand why they are using drugs or alcohol or acting out.  An intervention really is just a conversation where you find out as much as you can to prevent future problems or issues around this topic. 

Weekly Goal –
How Well Do You Know the Teen in Your Life? How Can You Learn More to Find Out if an Intervention is Necessary?

Learn as much as you can about your teen with asking opened ended questions that elicit information. Want to find out more information on where they are going?
Where are you going tonight?
Who are you going with?
How are you getting there?
When will you be coming back?
Call them during their evening to check in with them on where things are. Has anything changed? Do they need you?
To Snoop, or not to snoop?

Some parents think it is not ok to snoop, but I disagree. If you truly care about the future of your teen, you will want to know exactly what is going on. How can you find out?

1. Search their room, backpacks or car for drugs.
2. Do you know how to see what websites your teens are using? Go to your Internet Explorer and hit control and then “h” to bring up the history of web sites.
3. What are they doing online anyway? Google their name to find out their MySpace account and take a look at this page. Teens reveal a lot of information about themselves.
4. Are they using virtual chat rooms? These are popular with teens and are very unsafe. If they are, be sure that you know which games they are playing. Explain to your teen that they are unsafe because they will never know if they are interacting with another teen their own age, or a predator. BEWARE-they should know to NEVER meet up with someone they meet in a chat room, or give them their personal information (address or phone number).
Know your own family history. Does addiction run in the family? If so, you will need to be sure that you are not in denial of the problem.
Change My Results NOW – How Do I Move on with my Life During a Crisis?
How do you stay positive when your world has been turned upside down? If you have a serious problem with your teen that is causing you stress, then you must take action now. Dr. Phil had an episode on Emergency Teen Interventions on Wed. May 19th. His advise from this show was to-It will take some time to work through these issues, but once you have stated your expectations, and your teen understands them, put your expectations in a contract so they are clear with the rules, and they understand that there are consequences for breaking these rules. Working with teens is not easy, by any means. I do know that understanding them is the key to figuring out why they are acting out. Once you can gain some understanding, you can begin to move towards a solution. The solution might not be what your teen wants to hear, but trust me, they will thank you when they have grown up, and have their own families to worry about.
 1. Strip the teen of their existence. Teens these days think they are so entitled. If they are not following the rules, they must face the consequences. Take them out of their environment. Teens in some countries are lucky to have shelter. Why do teens feel like they are owed so much? Its the parents fault. Do not give into their requests if they cannot follow the rules. Take away their cell phones and luxury items. Power corrupts them and they cannot handle this responsibility. Take it all away! Sell your house, quit your job, and live in a tin, before you let your teen rule your household. Show them who is in charge.
2. If this strategy fails, then send them to an outpatient program where they must learn how to live by the rules with structure on a daily basis. Get them off drugs and alcohol. He recommends the Turnabout Ranch in Aspen, CO.
3. If they run away from home, call the police and let them go to jail. Better safe in a cell, learning a lesson, than loose and unsafe on the streets.
4. Use “tough parenting” where you might not be popular, but you will prevent your teen from ending up dead in an alley somewhere. You also will be teaching them that they cannot make excuses for their actions when they show up late for work in the real world. Think of the message you are sending your teen if you do not teach your teen how to adhere to the basic responsibilities in life. They will be doomed, that’s for sure, and it will be your fault!
Teens have two jobs to do; get an education, and enjoy themselves as they are doing this. If they cannot do these two items, then they must be taken out of their environment so they can get back on track.

If your teen is acting out, then you must act now!  You can only do so much, and then you must hand it over to a professional to force the desired results to occur. Don’t worry about not being liked. Worry about what “could” happen if you do NOT take action.

Use your intuition and gut feelings if something feels not right.

Do you know what your teen is up to? Do you know who their friends are and what they REALLY are doing on Saturday night? Ask questions about your teen’s life and you will be amazed at what they will share. Perhaps they will tell you things other teens are doing that they don’t like, and you can take that conversation as a teachable moment to discuss the negative outcomes of certain situations. Just keep asking questions.

Try to find out as much as you can about your teen’s life by asking questions. Knowledge is power. The more you can find out, the easier it will be to work towards a solution.

You can have a formal or informal intervention with your teen. A formal intervention is planned, and needed if you feel like they are addicted and need more assistance than you can provide.

An informal intervention would work well for your first conversation with your teen.

Are you asking questions about what your teen is doing and monitoring their actions? It is hard work, but being involved in your teen’s life is very important.

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