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Teenager Steals Dad’s Prescription Drugs

Question:

My husband and I recently discovered that our 15 year-old daughter has smoked pot a few times and appears to be exploring drugs. She was sent home from school yesterday for taking one of her Dad’s Zanex pills. My husband wants to take away every privilege, which I feel is too harsh. I’ve scheduled an appointment with a Christian counselor but am worried. How can we help her?

Answer:

Parents are not always going to agree on how to approach their children concerning their actions or what consequences should be delivered for those actions. Your daughter’s health and safety is the most important thing. Taking another's prescription medication is not only illegal, but it also could be harmful and put her health at risk.  Since she has confessed to using marijuana as well, it may not be a bad idea to talk to her physician about a possible drug test or an actual office visit to make sure what she has ingested recently is not going to cause harm. Your husband was probably shocked and upset, as you were, and the fact that it was his medication might have struck another chord with him. 

If your daughter has never had a mental health evaluation, this might be a good time for that. Some teens experiment for the sake of experimentation, but others could be self medicating for one reason or another. If depression runs in the family, now is the time to see if your daughter may actually be showing some symptoms of the same disease.

Talk with your husband and come to an agreement about what the consequences should be for your daughter’s behavior.  She is old enough that if it takes some time for you to come up with a reasonable consequence, she can wait. Let her know that you are glad that she is okay, you want to get her help if she feels that she needs it, and that you love her, but because of the severity of what happened, there will be a consequence.

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