My Child is Addicted, Now What?

person covering own face

As a parent, your children’s safety is your number one priority, however, ensuring their safety if they are an addict can feel like an impossible task. Finding out your child is an addict and dealing with it can be heartbreaking and comes with its unique set of challenges. Oftentimes, you may feel powerless trying to help them and not know the “right” way to intervene or discipline them. 

So, how do you help your child who is an addict? It is important that before you make a decision that you inform yourself. Take time to research addiction, talk to a professional about the situation, and plan how you wish to approach discussing your child’s addiction with them. You want to make sure that, no matter what you do, your child knows you are coming from a place of love and concern, not judgment and anger. This blog will offer you some general guidelines on how to deal with your child being an addict.

How to Deal with Your Child Being an Addict

Although it is very difficult, you must keep in mind that your relationship with your child may have, or will have to, change. It is important to focus on altering your parenting dynamic to best help your child and not enable their use. Here are some ways to deal with your child being an addict.

Admit there has been a change in family dynamics

As a parent, it can be hard to let go of what you thought your family was. Trying to turn the family dynamic around and make it return to what it was is a futile task. Moreover, focusing on what you should’ve done or could’ve done to prevent your child’s addiction or realized it sooner does not help address the current situation. Accepting that your child is an addict and that your family dynamic has changed is the first step to moving forward and dealing with the situation.

Acknowledge that you cannot parent the addiction out of your child

You must recognize that you cannot fix your child’s addiction with your parenting decisions. Imposing stricter rules will not change the fact that your child is an addict. If you focus on punishment of negative behaviors, this could potentially lead to your child’s use increasing due to them feeling more guilt and shame associated with their use and behavior. 

Encourage positive steps

Once you’ve accepted that the way in which you parent your child will not change that they are an addict, you can begin to take positive steps to help them get the help they need. Outline the guidelines your child must follow and what is considered acceptable behavior. As well, set concrete consequences for breaking these guidelines. When you approach your child about these rules, do it in a way that makes the child feel like your equal, not like you are talking down to them.

Furthermore, emphasize how important your child is in your family and try to encourage them to participate in a treatment program. Although you cannot parent the addiction out of your child, you can show your support for positive decisions.

Set boundaries

Boundaries are essential when a loved one is an addict. Your boundaries are actions you will or will not take for your child. It is integral you determine whether your actions will enable your child’s addiction. Making it clear to your child that you will not lie, make excuses, or take the blame for them is important in their recovery. Boundaries are crucial in reducing the negative impact your child’s addiction has on yourself and your family. Most importantly, setting boundaries reinforces to your child that it is their responsibility to take action against their addiction.

Helping Your Child Get Sober with Design for Recovery

If you believe your child needs a structured, sober environment to recover, Design for Recovery maybe for them. Design for Recovery offers a safe environment to become more secure in your sobriety. Residents work hard daily to develop new skills, values, and coping mechanisms for approaching life in early recovery. At Design for Recovery, we believe that addiction recovery involves more than just physically abstaining from substances — it involves building a new way of life. With the help of Design for Recovery’s sober living services, your child can begin to develop skills that will help you stay sober long-term.

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