Finding out that your child is suffering from addiction can be devastating. As parents, we only want the best for our children and seeing them grow up to become addicted to drugs is the last thing on our minds. We think it will never happen to us but the truth is, many parents are suffering the same fate.
Addiction can come to anyone quickly. Before we know it, it's happening right under our noses and we have no idea how to deal with it. Some parents turn a blind eye hoping it will go away while others exacerbate the problem by enabling it.
In this article, we'll discuss the right steps to take if you find out that your child is suffering from addiction.
1. Strengthen the relationship
Your child will do all kinds of manipulation tactics so they're able to keep using the substance they're addicted to. Despite the conflict their addiction might cause, you want to protect your relationship with them. The key to achieving this is through communication. Ask them open-ended, non-judgemental questions and really listen to what they are saying.
These are just some examples of questions you can ask:
- What made you decide to start using drugs?
- What activities can help you stay away from it?
- What would make you want to quit?
Also, don't allow your child to affect the relationship among family members. It's not necessary for the family to hit rock bottom for the addict tot change their life. If anything, you want the family to be a strong support system to persuade the addict to get help for themselves.
2. Set boundaries
Addicts can be pretty good at testing boundaries. As a parent, it can be easy to give into your child's manipulations out of guilt. You just can't help it. It's your child and you want them to be happy but sometimes, giving into their demands will do more harm than good.
Setting the right boundaries from the moment you recognize the addiction will ensure that there are no inconsistencies during times when you're child is trying to test you. Recognize what you will and will not do for your child. They may not like it at first but it shows them that you cannot be manipulated. This gives them no excuse to blame you for their behavior making them more likely to be accountable for their actions.
3. Offer support in non-monetary ways
You want to avoid funding your child's addiction as much as possible so limit monetary assistance as much as possible. For example, if they need money for food or they need to purchase an item for a school project, buy them groceries or offer to take them to the store where the item is.
4. Encourage good behaviour
Berating the child for their addiction will only make their self-esteem worse. The last thing you want is for your child to not feel empowered to make a change. Instead of constantly reminding them of their mistakes, why not encourage positive behaviour instead?
Compliment them everytime they do something good. This reduces conflict in the home and gives your child the push they need to develop their full potential, leading them to get into a treatment program, such as those offered by RecoveryCentersofAmerica
5. Practice self-care
As a parent, you want to protect your child. However, there is only so much you can do. The path they took that led them to addiction was their choice. Accept your limits and don't berate yourself for the choice that they made. The toll it takes on parents of addicts can be very stressful. You may feel depressed, anxious, and less attentive because you're constantly worrying about your child's problem.
During this difficult time, you have to practice self-care. It's not only good for you but for your child. If you are weak and down, you won't be able to care for your child and push them in the right direction. Lead by example and show how one can remain strong despite adversities. Your child has want the change themselves. And the steps above will help you get to that place.
Have any other advice you can give to parents of kids suffering from addiction? Share them in the comments below.