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The "TRUST" Issue

I don't get it. I just do not get it. When adult professionals such as physicians and therapists say that drug testing your own children can be a violation of trust in the relationship, I just cannot identify with any part of that argument.

As a teenager, the very worst thing that my parents could do to me was to accuse me of something that I did not do. When I was innocent, I wish that there had been a test to prove my innocence. When I was guilty...well, not so much.

We are talking about teenagers. Raising them is all about giving them rope, then seeing what they do with it. I cannot tell you how many "post-treatment" parents have told me about the regret that they feel that they avoided signs and were afraid to test. It is so much easier to deal with a problem early on, rather than hope that it just goes away. No one wants to deal with something this unpleasant, but these things usually only get worse when ignored.

You have worries, we all do. Maybe it is nothing, maybe it is something. Most teenagers at least occasionally lie to their parents, and I have never found anyone that will argue that fact except a teenager. We owe it to our children to know them and teach them as well as we possibly can. Would you choose to never look at a report card, and just take their word for how they are doing in school? Would you trust them with a credit card and never check the bill?

When you suspect your teen of drug use, what do you do? Do you just ask them and take their word for it? I am amazed at all the parents that find drugs and believe "it belongs to a friend". Even when the parent has the positive drug test in front of them- many kids still won't confess until they are on the way to a lab for confirmation- then it was always "the first time."

If you don't necessarily want to "catch" them, but want to deter them from future use, then give then a 30 day "heads-up" before you surprise them with the forewarned test. You have to actually do the test, not just threaten- and it must be on an on-going basis. They will thank you someday. Let them know that you are aware that staying away from drugs is hard, and that you plan to "reward" all negative tests.

I genuinely believe that if a teenager really has nothing to hide, that they will understand your reasons for protecting them when you express your feelings honestly and thoroughly. Point out to them that the most stoned kid in their school has oblivious parents at home. Most teens actually appreciate the "out" with their friends. Be aware that even the guilty ones say to "bring it on".

I hope we are not teaching our kids that blind trust is going to work for them in life. Providing proof is just part of normal living. It is often human nature to try to get away with bad behavior if someone does not hold us accountable. ~Kim