January 15, 2014 —

Let's face it, teenagers can be very sleek at concealing what they are doing. Parents have a difficult task of keeping up with their teen's activities, grades, friends and whereabouts -- and today we have the added challenge of technology.

I am a firm believer that a parent's gut can be a good trigger if there is something suspicious going on with your child. In many cases, a parent can sense when their teenager is struggling. But do we act on it or assume it is a phase and will pass?

You suspect your teen may be using drugs. You have asked him and he denies it. Do you believe him?

Let's consider some red flags:

  • Is your teen becoming very secretive
  • Is your teen withdrawn?
  • Is your teen changing peer groups? 
  • Is your teen sleeping a lot?
  • Is your teen changing their eating habits?
  • Is your teen sneaking out
  • Is your teen becoming defiant, full of rage, angry?
  • Overall, is your teen slowly becoming a child you don't recognize?

Do you know what they are really saying? Are you familiar with drug-slang that teens are using? 

Just as important as who your kids are hanging with, parents need to be in touch with the slang-chat that teens using today. Have you reviewed their text messages? Their social media sites? Emails?

Your gut-check has now informed you that the average monitoring is going to cross the boundaries into snooping. But when safety trumps privacy, your child's health is a priority. 

Knowledge is power and being in the know can help you help your child sooner rather than later

If you see or hear your teen talking about the following terms or using them in text messages or on social networking sites, your teen might be involved in some type of drug activity.

  • Red Devils, Velvet, Drex, Rojo, Candy, Dex, Robo, Skittles, Tussin, Vitamin D: OTC -Cough Medicine (Dextromethorphan) Kids who use cough syrup are often called "syrup heads"
  • CCC, Triple C: OTC Cough Syrup with Coricidin
  • Snow, Coke, Nose candy, White, Toot, Charlie, Powder: Cocaine
  • Green, Trees, Pot, Herb, Grass, Weed, 420, Chronic, Tea, Blunt: Marijuana
  • Special K, Vitamin K, Breakfast cereal, K, Ket, Horse Tranquilizer: Ketamine
  • Ecstasy, E, Essence, Hug Drug, Molly, X, Stacy, XTC, Adam, Clarity, Lover’s speed: (MDMA)
  • Brown sugar, H, Horse, Junk, Smack, Anti-freeze, Poison: (Heroin)
  • Speed, Crank, Chalk, Fire, Glass, Ice: Methamphetamine
  • Kibbles and Bits, Pineapple: Ritalin
  • Roofies, R-2, Roachies: Rohypnol - Date rape drug

(Sources: WedMD, AboveTheInfluence)

Keeping up with slang can be a challenge since it is always changing, as with the drug trends and nicknames the kids are using. It is imperative that you stay up-to-date with the latest drugs and slang that is being used. 

Be an educated parent and always take the time to sit down with your teenager and discuss the trends with them.

Show your teen you are a concerned parent and you care about their safety and their health. 

Opening the doors of communication is never easy in teen-hood, but always necessary. Never stop being a parent first -- it's worth it.

 

Sue Scheff is an author and parent advocate. She is the founder of Parents' Universal Resource Experts, Inc., which has helped thousands of families since 2001 with at-risk teenagers. Her first book, Wit's End! Advice and Resources for Saving Your Out-of-Control Teen continues to be resource for many parents raising teens today. Follow Sue on Twitter and join her on Facebook.