How to Perform an Intervention for Your Teen

 

Few things are as frustrating and terrifying as being the parent of a child who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Addicted teens will likely display a number of unsettling behaviors, including a very short temper, which may even lead them to become violent.

While it is clear that a teen facing addiction issues must be stopped, it can be very challenging to know exactly how to confront them about their destructive behavior. Parents often justifiably fear being snapped at, alienated from, or even physically attacked by their troubled teen.

Because of this, it is important that any type of intervention planned is well thought out and thoroughly prepared for. This teen intervention planning guide can help you make sure you’ve got everything in order before taking this important and scary step towards your teen’s recovery.

Photo of a girl and a boy sharing earbuds for music

 

1. Speak with a professional.

Interventions are, by nature, challenging, uncomfortable, and emotional. Many teenagers are more emotional than their adult counterparts, and teenagers who are using drugs can be particularly volatile. It is important that you speak with a trained professional before attempting an intervention. A professional interventionist will be able to help you formulate a plan that is specific to your family and its needs.

2.Speak with your partner.

If you are married or living with your significant other, it is important that both of you are on the same page. Make sure you are both aware of the ways in which your child’s addiction have affected you personally. Ensure that you both understand the ground rules for the intervention, and will work as a team to communicate with your child.

3. Assess when your teen is most likely to be sober.

One of the keys to a successful intervention is staging it during a time that your teen is not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You want to appeal to their most rational selves, and reduce the likelihood of them losing control of themselves or behaving irrationally. Before planning the intervention, pay attention to when your teen seems to be using. Often, mornings are a good time for interventions, because this is the time of day when a person is least likely to have begun using yet.

4. Formulate “I” versus “you” statements.

A teen who is facing an intervention from their family and friends will very likely feel ganged up on. Minimize their feelings of defensiveness by speaking to them only about the way their actions are affecting you. Rather than taking an accusatory stance, be honest with them about the way their actions are making you feel.

5. Practice ahead of time.

Be prepared for the fact that the intervention itself could become tense or emotional. Practice what you want to say in front of a mirror or a loved one. This will help you stay on point, even when nerves kick in on the actual day. Have a plan for staying calm. Practice breathing or another form of simple meditation so that if you become upset on the day of the intervention, you will have some tools available to you to keep your cool.

Proper Execution

When executed correctly, an intervention is a highly effective way of making your teen aware of the fact that he or she has a problem. As much as your teen may seem defiant or withdrawn from you, know that deep down, children care what their parents think about them, and do not want to hurt or disappoint them.

While confrontation is never easy, it is often necessary. You are not alone in this struggle. The support you need in order to make your teen aware of them problem and help guide them to sobriety is available.