Home behavior when teens use substances

Your teen's behavior at home will most likely be affected if he or she is drinking alcohol or taking other drugs. The following are some questions to ask yourself if you suspect substance use in your teen:

  • Has your teen recently developed a negative attitude and become less motivated toward activities such as sports or hobbies? Has he or she talked about suicide or running away?
  • Does your teen argue with you much more than usual? Is he or she more aggressive, more depressed, or prone to sudden mood changes?
  • Have you noticed a change in the way your teen dresses? Is he or she poorly groomed?
  • Does your teen avoid adults? Has he or she had encounters with the police?
  • Have you caught your teen lying or stealing? Does he or she seem to have extra money that you cannot account for?
  • Does your teen participate in fewer family activities?
  • Does your teen seem to be more sensitive about his or her privacy?
  • Is your teen away from home more than usual? Does your teen seem to use home as a stop-off place?
  • When you ask your teen where he or she has been, do you get a vague answer?

Last Updated: August 27, 2008

Author: Caroline Rea, RN, BS, MS & Jeannette Curtis

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & Yifrah Kaminer, MD - Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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