As a parent, you worry that your child will become addicted to drugs or alcohol. Fortunately, as with other chronic illnesses, there are treatment options available. When your child returns from rehab, they may have to be put on a drug or alcohol-free diet. To help with this transition, below are some helpful tips from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Some children test positive for drugs from birth due to the mother’s substance misuse; others develop an addiction. Either way, parents must realize that addiction is a disease, not a choice, and addicts need professional help to overcome it. When children develop an addiction, it is typically to substances like marijuana, opioids, or inhalants.
If your child is addicted to drugs, it can be difficult to know how you can help them. As a parent, it is natural to want to withdraw your love and attention from your child, but addiction runs deep, and cutting off your child will only make matters worse.
Tips for Parents of Addicted Children
Acknowledge your anger
They typically know this, but they may not know how to react. If a parent has been avoiding or ignoring the anger they feel toward their child, now is the time for them to admit that anger. Accepting their anger is the first crucial step in overcoming it, and that acceptance will help reduce any guilt or shame they may feel.
Parents should set limits for their children within reason. If your child has an addiction, it is not your obligation to set the limits, but you can choose if you do or do not. Set limits in your child’s daily life, such as curfew, amount of TV or computer time, and food consumption. Set limits in your home as well.
Involve your child in recovery
Whether your child has a serious, long-term addiction to drugs or alcohol, or a mental health issue like cutting, they need you, their parent or guardian, to help. Parent involvement in a teen’s recovery process can help end the cycle of abuse. You can help by being your child’s number one cheerleader, biggest supporter, and biggest advocate.
Prepare before confronting your child.
As a parent, you may feel overwhelmed with emotions. You may feel sad, angry, frustrated, confused, helpless, and more. One of the most frequent feelings that parents experience is the fear of losing their children, especially when they have an addiction to drugs or alcohol. But there is hope. You can provide your child with the help they need and offer them hope for a life of sobriety. Prepare before confronting your child.
Two of the biggest concerns for parents are their child’s mental health and their risk of overdose. The teenage years are hard enough without facing these problems, as teens try to establish their own identities and forge their own paths, but parents can help by being there and being consistent.
Do not be judgmental.
Addiction is a disease. Do not judge it. Addiction ruins lives, destroy families and makes unsuspecting parents into ticking time bombs. It does not discriminate, and it does not respect social or economic status.
Parents of children with addictions often feel a sense of guilt and shame. They do not want to feel this way, but they often feel judged for their child’s behavior. If you are a parent struggling with a troubled child, it is important to understand that you are not alone. Many parents feel the same way you do, and those couples that get support, guidance, and counseling are better equipped to deal with the challenges.
You want to protect your child from the dangers of drugs. You have probably heard stories about possible addictions from friends, other parents, and even your own past. You want to protect your kids, but how can you help them if they already have a drug addiction?
As a parent, you must let your child know that you care. Words alone are not enough; you need action. You need to begin by explaining to your child the effects of drug abuse and why it is important to stay away from it. You need to show your child that you are willing to put aside your personal feelings for your child to learn, grow, and ultimately, recover.