Additional Support for Parents when Adolescents Lie about Drug Use

Written By: Mayra Vargas, MFTI, Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment Program

Parental instinct is key to supporting their teens with their drug use/abuse. Parents sometimes ignore their “gut instinct” that lets them know something is happening with their adolescent.  Often a parent will tentatively ask about these issues, and the teen will say ‘everything is fine’ — and the conversation ends. Research reports that when parents prolong ignoring their instincts that something wrong is happening with their child, it might be more difficult for teens to open and listen to parents. Studies have shown that it would be better if parents are able to identify substance use sooner rather than later, in order to begin a successful treatment regimen. Parents’ involvement in their children’s life is an important factor that can reduce drug use/abuse. The earlier the issues are addressed, the better the outcomes.

Below are a few tips that can help parents when dealing with their teens and their lies:

Trusting Parental Instinct

  • Parents are often considered the ‘experts’ in their children’s behaviors. Trusting the “gut instinct” that lets you know that something is wrong in your child’s life is an important part of getting them help. Start different conversations with your teens about their everyday life in a way that does not turn your teen defensive. Be an active listener with your teens instead of finding blame in their actions.


  • Staying up to date on current teen trends and treatments as parents is important in your family.  For example, if parents begin to see signs of different behaviors that are not normal with your teen, then you need to refer to your research and find out what are normal behaviors in the different stages of adolescent development.

Rebuilding Trust 

  • Research and life experience tell us it’s important to leave space for parents and teens to rebuild trust in their relationship. This means that it can be difficult for parents and teens to regain trust after negative experiences have occurred.  Trust cannot be rebuilt overnight, but creating a cycle of positive and open communication can build a foundation of honesty for the future.


Here is a good resource for parents who want to learn more about dealing with a loved one suffering from substance abuse.