An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the DrugAbuse.com Forums?Join or

A friends child has a drug problem

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by mommyof4, Jan 16, 2015.

  1. mommyof4

    mommyof4 Member

    How would you handle the situation? A friends child has a drug problem. You have become aware of it because the child confided in you about it. The parents have no idea. Do you take the child confiding in you as a call for help and talk to the parents?
  2. jeremy2

    jeremy2 Community Champion

    I suppose that child has some problem relating to his parents if at all he can confide in you.Ultimately the parents will need to know about it,the sooner the better.I'll suggest you make arrangements for the both of you(parents and yourself) to schedule a meeting and have the child disclose his problems as soon as possible.
  3. Mackmax

    Mackmax Active Contributor

    Yes, yes, a million times yes!
    The absolute worst thing you can do in this situation is keep your mouth shut and do nothing. This child has confided in you with a very serious problem, which means that they trust you. It is hard to tell people about your addictions, and it is even harder to tell an adult when you're a child, because you could get punished by your parents.
    I would speak to the child and tell them that you want to schedule a meeting with them and their parents. Don't just call the child's parents, or else the child may feel betrayed since they trusted you with such a secret. Explain to the child that you have to tell their parents and that it is for the best.
  4. mommyof4

    mommyof4 Member

    It is a tough situation but it all did work out in the end. I am just thankful that he finally told someone so now he can get the help he needs. Thanks for the input!
  5. LostmySis

    LostmySis Senior Contributor

    The child came to you because he/she trusts you. Offer to be there with the child when he talks to the parents. That way you can act as a mediator and try to keep the family calm. A parent's initial reaction will be fear, anger and denial. Be sure to handle it in a "here is the problem, let's make a plan" sort of way.

    If the child tells you he will not tell them, then explain you will. That relieves you of your confidence.... you are informing him that he needs to tell or you will. This will not make him feel immediately betrayed, as he might if you just told the parents right away. Kids sometimes need a buffer when in trouble for fear of the parents' reaction.
  6. Adrianna

    Adrianna Community Champion

    The child trusts you. Ask them what they want to do. Ask if they want to involve their parents, probably not. Kind of sad when they don't go to their own parents for help. Something with the relationship is not right. They must be afraid of them. Depending upon the age, teen or whatever. Might be also good to find out why they don't want to talk to their parents about it. They might be abusive. This might help you to decide the best avenue. Treat them like they are an adult and this will help them make the best decision. I would not force anything on them as this might push them in the wrong direction. Giving the chance for some self determinism which is important. My guess is when a teen doesn't want to talk to their parents about something like this they may have destroyed the child's will and their sense of self.
  7. musicmonster

    musicmonster Senior Contributor

    That is definitely a call for help and it is best that you help and address the child about the trouble he or she got into. Don't judge the child though because that moment is crucial. Just give the child some guidance and it is also best to tell the child's parents and tell them the same thing.
  8. juno

    juno Community Champion

    It is hard enough to help an adult with a problem, I can't imagine how difficult it could be to help a child, let alone if they are not your own.

    You probably have a moral obbligation to the child and the parents. The parents are your friends and the deserve to know such a thing about their child. It will probably require parent permisdion to get help as well. The child confided in you and you don't want to break that trust. So, convinve the child to tell the parents, where you can be present to help.
  9. DancingLady

    DancingLady Community Champion

    If the child told you, but not their parents they probably have some issues or fears going on in their relationship with their parents. I would talk to the child first and encourage them to talk to their parents and try to stay as positive as possible. The are admitting they have a problem and need help, so the worst thing you could do is judge them. I think setting up a time to talk to the parents with the child is a good idea. It may help the child and the parents through this as the parents, however shocked, are more likely to think about their words before the speak in reaction when another person is present.
  10. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I am glad everything worked out and the person is getting the help they need. If I was going to offer any advice it was going to be along the lines of what many here expressed. When a child places trust in you it's something you never want to betray. You could lose that person forever. Anyway, it seems like all's well that can end well and the problem is being addressed. Thanks for bringing it to the forum.
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2015
  11. ryan0039

    ryan0039 Active Contributor

    I've dealt with that before and I'm glad that it's all working out. It's hard to decide what to do in that situation because it isn't really your responsibility, but at the same time you have an obligation to help a struggling child. It's especially hard when you've been in the same situation.
  12. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    In any situation, I usually give importance to the fact that the child is giving me his or her trust, so I personally wouldn't ruin it by going to the parents. If it goes on for long enough I will find a way to gain permission from the child to speak about it with the parents or to find help myself but apart from that I will respect the person's wishes unless it is life threatening to them or towards others.
  13. KNH

    KNH Active Contributor

    The parents obviously need to be made aware of the problem but if you tell them yourself it might ruin the trust the child has for you. I think you should highly encourage the child to talk to them about it - and offer to be there with him or her when he or she tells them.
  14. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    In the end it doesn't matter why the kid did it... what really matters if the well being of said kid, so even if you think you will be breaking some sort of trust the kid placed on you by letting you know about his addiction... I still think letting the parents know about this problem is a must. A kid doesn't have enough maturity to face this kind of thing alone, he needs the guidance of his parents... plus as a minor it's on the parents to take care of this.

    If it was me i'd talk with the kid, tell him we need to tell his parents. I'd tell him he doesn't need to be afraid, because we can tell them together.
  15. irishrose

    irishrose Community Champion

    Absolutely, I would tell the parents, after convincing the child that the parents will be on a team of people interested in getting the child better. The parents will need to be on board for getting the child help. The child will need all of the support they can get in order to recover. The more support, the better.
  16. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    While yes, the right thing to do is to tell the parents that the child is doing drugs, fact is that child may take it as a betrayal and when confronted by the parents might deny the whole thing and you'd have created a number of enemies in the process.

    Talk to the kid, find out if s/he is willing to stop using drugs. This should help you decide whether the parents need to know of their kid's drug use.

    Give the child a little time to change. Three weeks is long enough. If s/he is still using drugs then the parents have to be informed.