What to do when you suspect your grandchild is using drugs

grandmother granddaughter talking

It’s hard enough as a parent to know what to do when you find out your child is using drugs. But as a grandparent it can be even tougher, as you have to perhaps handle the problem yourself should you be the one finding out, or having to crossing the tricky divide to talk to the child’s parents. The likelihood is that discovery and discussion would be a highly emotive family issue.

In most cases, you will be totally unprepared for this issue. You probably won’t know what to do, or what to look for, but as a grandparent with your wisdom, and history of caring for the child, you might see something that other missed.

Have mood swings, or lack of co-operation and rudeness become apparent? Have their sleeping patterns suddenly changed? Have old friends been dropped and replaced by a new group? And has there been any thieving of your property? These are a few common signs and behaviours to look for.

If your suspicions are confirmed, try not to overreact. Be absolutely sure to tell your grandchild that you love them. Take the time to think about next step. If it’s you that will have to first talk to your grandchildren show your concern and talk to them when you are both calm.

If you then have to go talk to your children about your grandchild, the stay-calm rule still applies. Be prepared to be told you’re wrong, or you’re meddling, there is every chance that the child’s parents will panic or be angered. You have to sat calm with them, and have them calm down to take over the problem, and speak to their children from a position of love, not anger.

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Even if the spectre of drugs doesn’t raise its head as an issue, it might be a good idea to talk about the topic with your grandchild. If this is something you decide to do, it would be a help for you to research what new drugs might be a societal problem in today’s world. Perhaps a casual way in is to open a discussion on a famous person currently in trouble with drugs.

And don’t underestimate your importance in helping to guide your grandchild. They will appreciate your wisdom, and the fact that you are not their parent, and will likely open up to you more. And once the topic has been broached, it;s then a lot easier to bring the topic up again, and ask harder questions, such as “Do you know anybody who has taken drugs?” or, “Has anyone ever offered you drugs?”, and “What would you do if someone did?”

A full list of things to watch for can be found at the ACT Government’s Parentlink website. As a resource for finding out more about drugs, there is the Australian Drug Information Network, run by the Australian Drug Foundation.

This is not an easy issue to overcome, and it can be a hard topic to broach with your children and grandchildren. So often it would be a new hurdle in your family, and we hope something here will be a help.

Do you have any advice, or experience in this, that you could pass along to the community?