If your son or daughter is struggling with addiction, they need your help. Only around ten percent of individuals addicted to a substance get the help, they need to recover. As a parent, helping your child seek treatment is a challenge on every level, but it is the best thing you can do for them.
Helping your child in this requires a unique approach, and there are many pitfalls you need to avoid. This article will focus on what you can do to help your child if they are suffering from addiction.
Don’t Try to Fix it
You cannot take the reins of this problem and make everything right for your child. No parent can take control and fix everything for their child if they are an addict. It is a problem with many steps and many challenges and your child needs your support, but you cannot do it on your own.
Unlike Anything Else
Addiction is not a matter of will. Substance use disorder, or addiction, is a mental disorder. This is nothing like what you have helped them with in the past, and it requires an entirely different approach from you.
You can help your adult child through this, but you need to help them help themselves.
Help Yourself First
Make sure you are okay before you try to help your child. If you are not okay, some resources can help, like support groups and therapy.
Set boundaries with your child to help you stay stable and healthy. Just as you are not there to solve their problem, you are not there to shoulder all of their burdens. The boundaries you set can vary from person to person, but make sure you do all you can to make your home a safe and welcoming place for you first, and your child second. If they are not willing to abide by the rules you set, do not hesitate to make them find another place to live until they can follow your rules.
Your Child Needs Professional Help
Addiction is a serious mental condition, and your child requires professional help. You are in a supporting role and they, and whoever is helping them, have the leading ones. You cannot drag them out of their addiction, and trying to do so may only make things worse.
Are You Enabling Their Behaviors?
If your adult child is suffering from addiction be wary of your parental instincts as they may only serve to enable their behaviors. Unfortunately, it is very easy for the help you provide to slip into enabling your child to continue the behaviors they’ve fallen into.
Be Wary of Manipulation
It is difficult to imagine your child taking advantage of you, but while they are suffering from their addiction your child may manipulate and lie to get what they want. Whenever you set boundaries and make rules — stick to them.
Examine everything your child asks you with a critical eye and be wary if they make any strange or out-of-the-ordinary requests.
Supporting Your Child Financially
Be wary if your child asks for money. Be wary of giving your child a place at home to stay. They may have squandered their savings on drugs and can no longer pay their bills or try to steal from you if you let them in.
There are ways you can help your child but you cannot save them from their addiction on your own. Often, supporting them financially can do more harm than good.
Their Actions have Consequences
There will be times where it is difficult to face what your child has done. Your child may blame you or have angry outbursts about their addiction.
There is much you can do to support your adult child, but do not shield them from the consequences of their actions. Along their road, they have made mistakes and must come to terms with the consequences of their actions.
How You Can Help
Once you set boundaries, are doing okay, and are certain you are not accidentally enabling your child’s addiction, you can help them with their struggle. Even at this stage, it is your child who needs the initiative. You cannot order them to be better, only nudge them in the right direction.
Stay Emotionally Distant
During the course of your child’s addiction, their life will be thrown into disarray. Some days may be good and others terrible. Do not let them drag you into all of it and force you to sacrifice your own life just to be by their side.
Your child’s brain and personality are under the sway of their addiction, and it is best to let a professional help them through the steep challenges of recovery. Do not shut yourself away from them either, but find a healthy place in between.
Try not to Judge or be Angry
Your child’s addiction is a brain disease. It takes more than willpower to recover from their addiction, and yelling at them or scolding and lecturing them will not make anything better. Try not to judge them for their past mistakes.
It is okay to feel angry at your child for being in this position, but find a healthy outlet, do not yell at them. Venting your rage at them will only make the situation worse.
Keep Communication Open
As your child is on the road to recovery, there may be periods of time where things are getting better/ followed by an abrupt change for the worse. At some points, your child may not want to speak to you from shame, anger, or anything in between. Make sure they know they can reach out at any time, so if they take a step towards recovery you can help them take their next.
Everyone Handles Addiction Differently
These general tips are a good place to start, but if something is not working do not stick to it. If you are still uncertain how to help your child you can schedule an appointment with us and we will do everything we can to help.