When my kids were in high school I instituted random drug testing at my house. It was really cheap to set up and I feel like in the long run, I was saved an incalculably amount because one of my kids lived in the "gray". My teens were normal everyday teens with the usual number of friends, made decent grades and all.
After the first random test (did I mention how shocked my son was?), my son had a friend that I saw daily at my house that never came again; we just never saw him again. I asked my son and he always said "I don't know what happened to him".
About 2 years later I read his obituary in the newspaper, he had committed suicide in a drug rehab program. By all accounts, he was a normal teen with the usual number of friends and he also and made good grades.
Now that my son is grown I ask him about the random testing (we had about 3 in all). He said he was so mad at me at first, but he was able to use it as an excuse to not use drugs because he had random testing at his house.
My grown son tells me now that he thinks I was pretty smart. But he has challenged me and asked what would I have done. I just smile and tell him I would have tied him to his bed until he was 24 and we laugh together.
Source: A mom's intuition.
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Perhaps you could share with us how you do random drug testing (genuine non sarcastic request), living in the UK I know of nothing I could buy in a chemist which would allow me to detect cannabis, ecstacy, etc. in urine (how on earth would you get a sample?) or is it a salvia test? There's no way it could be a blood test, if its a mouth swab where do you buy the testing kit?
Personally I would expect a teenager to have the strength of character to say No anyway, and to support those that can't/won't/don't.
The only way forward is education about drugs and a good relationship with your teenager and even then some fall off the rails. Luckily for you you didn't get a positive result! I'm not sure fear of a parent finding out is a deterrent.
Many thanks (parent of 3 teenagers)
cazpumpkin, here's a good online store with some good info, too :-) I would venture to bet that if you asked a local pharmacist, their store carries them and maybe for less money. Home drug tests can be done the same as a doctors office would do and it can be urine or saliva. If you opt for urine, you just have to make sure that the bathroom door is open to make sure your child isn't tainting or switching the urine sample.
Notwrong, good for you! My extra suggestion would be to start the drug testing as early as the end of elementary school. The children are starting with drugs and alcohol use as early as the fourth and fifth grade these days.
As a heads up for everyone, here's my story so you know it's not just other kids supplying drugs and alcohol and although my story is from the late '60's, it's the same scenario today if not worse nowadays:
When I was fourteen (1968) my parents divorced and mom moved my brother and I from Seattle to the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles. Within a couple of months all of a sudden there were people, including my mom, smoking pot, taking various drugs and drinking all the time. Everyone, including our mom, offered my brother and I and even our friends stuff all the time :-( We resisted for quite a few months but in the end I did start smoking pot and, sadly, my brother was more experimental :-( He is now 53 years old and lives in a halfway house in Florida :-(
My point is, my mom was an upper class business woman and no one on the outside of the home/friend circle would ever have guessed her drug and alcohol use nor would they have believed for one minute that drugs and alcohol were being offered to their children by a respected neighbor :-(
I"m not sure how I feel about this. I find parents just don't talk to their kids about these things. "Say No to Drugs" isn't enough. My parents were very liberal when it came to raising us. They let us experience life and make our own mistakes, try all kinds of things that teenagers want to try, but educated us at the same time. So we were both smart enough not to get in over our heads with our indulgences. Education is KEY! I don't see anything wrong with experimenting with things, as long as you are educated about it.
Although this isn't something I would ever do, I realize that some children might need this kind of structure. I just know this would have never been good for my brother or I. We were allowed to do many things, and because we were allowed, we didn't. No fun to do stuff you're allowed to do, right? Just my two cents. :)
I know you're going to catch a lot of flack for "invading" their privacy and not allowing them to make their own choices but I applaud you. It is the responsibility of each parent to do almost whatever they can to help kids grow up right. My parents were very strict and I had moments when I heaved the heavy sighs and rolled the eyes...where they could see me but I had sighs of relief when I was able to tell people, "my parents would kill me if I ....". It sure takes a lot of pressure off those soft backbones and allows them to firm up on their own. Each parent has to do what they feel is best and since this worked for you, congratulations on raising drug free kids.
Anyone who thinks their kids could just "try" some of the junk that is out there now are sniffing something themselves. Don't they know, some of that stuff is addictive with the first try? Also, the relationship between parents and kids is always a developing thing as those kids grow, try to push the limits, test their own limits, etc. It is always good to have very clear limits, and consequences if those limits are passed. This is the experience of a mother, grandmother, great grandmother.
Cazpumpkin: you can find these tests very inexpensively on eBay. Like a few other posters here, I never thought there was a need for this, that it was a privacy breach.
That was until our eldest: good student, no previous trouble with the law ended up having a drug problem.
Addicts in the early stages are great at trying to maintain the illusion of normalcy, and parents of addicts, in the beginning, can be masters of denial. Not My Kid.
She went to rehab, and is an adult living clean and sober now; we began random drug testing at home with her and our other teens then at home as soon as we finally woke up to her problem.
NotWrong absolutely has the right idea. If a parent has any inkling that there may be something going on, privacy goes out the window and parenthood really should dictate the next steps to be taken to ensure the child's survival.
I only had to threaten my now 26 yr old with giving a random drug test when she was a teenager. It worked and I now also have a 14 yr old in house and a 6 ad 7 yr old and believe me, they know what mom will do and privacy doesn't matter. I come from a family of brothers and sisters who abused and still abuse drugs. I completely refuse to tolerate any of that behavior. I also agree with freyal1970, that education is also the key. Hang in there and God Bless you!
In response to cazpumpkin, I utilized my family doctor for my randoms. I was only charged for the test at the time and at the same time I was able to impress how far I was willing to go to keep them drug free (at least until they were adults and could make their own decisions).
My husband and I spent a lot of time with our kids as they were growing up and we know each of our children and respect each of them for what and who they are. No one would ever have called us strict parents (I guess maybe that is why my house always had extras (lots of extras) but we do have life rules that we live by. drug use was one we was not prepared to bend on.
In my experience there is no right or wrong way to parent but as long as a parent has the best of intentions and are parenting with lots of love they understand when do cross into their privacy even if they are royally p***sed at the time. I only had to use this "card" once : I took care of my body while you were undeveloped enough to live on this earth with out my body. I took the best of care of you when you were not able to care for yourself, clean or feed yourself and if nothing else you owe me.
So if making sure that you are taking care of that fine body that I nourished is what makes me happy, then why question just make me happy. Don't forget the smile and hug that goes along with this powerful statement.
I hope you aren't wrong, but you all seem to be on one side of this issue, and the truth is usually in the middle. I'm not saying that you don't have the right or the responsibility to care for your children. That is a parent's job. But if you have to randomly screen your kids, a serious problem may be existing. Parents must feel that they can speak to their parents about anything, and a child (or teen child) is made to feel that a climate of "Talk to me, but I won't trust you" exists, kids are likely to not to talk to their parents.
After a problem arises, things may change, but no psychologist or even random counselor that knows their game would suggest that young children be subjected to urine tests even if they haven't done anything wrong. They must feel like you expect them to mess up. If trouble arises, perhaps this is a good measure, but the taboo is the allure. My father always let me have a taste or so of anything that he was drinking as a teenager, so liquor was never a mystery I had to explore on my own. I'm not saying you have to go get your kids high, but give them the benefit if the doubt! Some get addicted, others dabble, some never do either.
Bottom line: drug testing may be appropriate, but don't let it substitute your open ears. Being a teenager was hard enough, and my parents were never looking for me to watch me pee in a cup (I'm 35). As a social work major after a bad illness, I would never have been able to cope without my mom and dad-they are my best friends. And I felt I could be truthful, and I never got into major trouble. It's often the tight leash that breaks.
I feared my daughter might drink a bit in high school. I made her kiss me good night whenever she got home. It was easy to do the sniff test! I wish the drug tests had been around then. Good for you for protecting your children.
Actually thanks for this tip I will definitely investigate buying one of these kits. I've been thinking about this issue the last few days and it could be a life saver, when it comes to protecting your kids and its a matter of life or death over privacy then other posters are RIGHT privacy comes 2nd even if they are annoyed.
I'm thinking back to a few years ago specifically when I installed spyware on my computer called goldeneye which let me see everything typed on the home computer, it showed me that my one of my kids had taken ecstacy twice. I had no idea that down our local park groups of teenagers were all trying it at the time.
I had a very very lucky escape because what I did was I went on the internet and printed off the worst stories about this drug I could find. Then one night I delicately brought the conversation around to drugs in general and told my daughter I'd read an article online about certain drugs and the story was alarming, then I dropped the issue. Naturally she wanted to know what the story was so I promised I would try and go and find it and print it off for her. She also told me she had tried this particular drug herself, and it was no big deal so I didn't pass comment for or against. I just said to her do me a favour read this article on this one drug and see if you still think its no big deal afterward.
I can say hand on heart that was the beginning of the end of experimenting with drugs she not only stopped experimenting much to the amusement of her friends at the time who all said you wont be able to stop she also drifted away from that crowd.
Many months later she told me she was absolutely terrified to read that this drug could cause sudden death every time a person used it even if previous use had been fine she was shocked to know every time she took ecstacy she risked dropping dead.
I told her I had used spyware once or twice and had known for months , she wasn't as annoyed as I had expected either. I told her I had been concerned for her behaviour and just wanted to do anything to keep her safe.
So my point in this long ramble is: I do think random drug testing is acceptable, but it then throws up the dilemma of what to do next, not all children are going to stop whether their parents found out or not, but I think its better to know rather than to not know because at least the parent could steer the child away from certain places or friends because they don't do drugs in isolation I bet.
Thanks for all the advice everyone. I had NO idea random drug testing was available and maybe schools should be given the power to do this as well. If kids thought they might get expelled, it would reinforce the parents message as well. I dont know. Its certainly a criminal offense to take drugs so what do others think?
As much as kids/teens complain about their "strict parents", they don't realize how much of a blessing it is when their parents care. I grew up watching these kids, wishing my parents were like that. My parents were just strangers who happened to live in the same house. As for teens who are upset about parents "invading privacy", they don't know how blessed they are. Keep on investing in your relationship with your kids, even if they complain.
I just wanted to post a follow up message about this subject, parents just remember that as long as your heart is pure in your caring for your children they will recognize (if not now but later) that you care deeply for them. Best of luck to all of you with teens. Pray hard for each of them and do not spare the hugs!
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