Discovering that your child is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol can be heartbreaking for a parent. You may beat yourself up about the many areas that you feel you dropped the ball with. You also may be confused and stressed about how you can help your child. However, this is not a time to think about yourself. Regardless of the role that you did or did not play, turn your attention to your child. The most important thing at this point is to help your child to achieve and maintain sobriety, and you can serve an integral role in this process.
Take a Supportive Role
Some parents are inclined to scold, punish or judge children who have an addiction, but this may not be what your child needs right now. Your child may feel hopeless and even abandoned in some ways because of your extreme disappointment. Rather than be condemning, take the alternative path of being supportive. You need to mend any bridges that have broken in the past so that you and your child can communicate openly and begin to trust each other once again.
You may think that you understand what happened with your child that led him or her down this path, and you may think that you clearly understand how to kick the habit, but this is not usually the case. Through programs like Kick Recovery Coaching and many other educational sources, you can learn more about the causes of addiction and the treatment available to your child. You may also learn about strategies to prevent your child from lapsing into bad habits again.
As supportive and caring as you need to be with your child at this point in his or her life, you also must maintain a firm stance in some areas. For example, you should be firm that your child needs to avoid spending time with others who may be a negative influence on your child. You may even make tough love decisions, such as keeping the bedroom door open at all times or changing schools. You must set structure and rules that help your child to maintain long-term sobriety.
Drugs and alcohol have ruined many lives, and there is no minimum age when an addiction can develop. The most important step for a parent to take is to identify the signs of addiction. If you believe that your child is struggling, rest assured that help is available through various support groups and treatment centers.