Should You Drug-Test Your Child?


*A collaborative post

If you feel the need to drug-test your child, you probably have their best interests at heart. You don’t want them to fall victim to substance abuse or get in trouble with the law. At-home kits are readily available and make the process easier than ever before. However, it is often a controversial practice. From general information to pros and cons, here’s everything you need to know about drug-testing your child.

Have Good Reason

Conversations about the dangers of substance abuse should be had well before you think your child is using. Being open about the topic can give them the wisdom they need to say no. This also makes it easier for them to come to you if they ever go down the wrong path.

Generally speaking, you should only resort to drug testing if you have a good reason. Are there signs that your child might be using? Some potential causes for alarm include:

  • A sudden drop in grades
  • Severe mood changes
  • Finding paraphernalia
  • Secretiveness
  • Physical symptoms (red eyes, dilated pupils, etc.)
  • Clothes/hair smelling of illicit substances

If you drug-test your child for no reason, this can destroy all sense of trust. A good parent-child relationship depends on both parties being able to trust each other.

Give Them the Chance to Confess

Before you require your teen to take the test, voice your concerns to them. Tell them that you have your suspicions and that they can be honest with you. Explain that you aren’t trying to accuse or blame. Rather, emphasize you are concerned for their well being and that you have their best interests at heart.

If they are using, there is the possibility that they’ll appreciate the open approach. They might recognize that they need help and admit to their struggles. This is great as you and your teen had an honest conversation and can bypass testing altogether. If they deny using, you must gauge their response. Do you suspect that they’re lying? If so, you might feel the need to resort to drug testing.

Explain Why You’re Drug-Testing

This can be a difficult conversation to have. Make sure you have an idea of everything you want to say. Explain that you feel this is the best way to ensure your safety. Determine incentives for negative results and consequences for positive results. If they refuse, implement the same consequences as a positive result.

Results Can Be Faked

While at-home drug tests are pretty accurate, the results can easily be faked. According to, teens use everything from detox drinks to synthetic urine to elicit negative results. You might have to take measures such as being present when they provide the sample to ensure accurate results.

Consider Leaving It to the Professionals

Maybe you recognize the need for a drug test but don’t want to administer it yourself. If this the case, consider having it done by a professional.

Having a neutral third-party can help you minimize the invasion of privacy. Professionals monitor the process to minimize the likelihood of cheating. Plus, their tests are more accurate and can test for several substances.

Analyze the Situation

Another reason parents might drug-test if they know for sure their child has used in the past. This can be used to hold them accountable for their sobriety and ensure they stay on the right path.

As you can see, this situation is complex and each one requires its own course of action. There is no one universal right answer. Armed with this information, you should be able to make the decision that is best for your family.

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