If you have a child that is struggling with drug addiction, you have significant feelings of hopelessness left wondering what you could have done differently. You want to do everything in your power to help your son or daughter, but the wrong actions may worsen the situation. While you may feel helpless, there are many ways that you can take the right steps that will benefit a child struggling with addiction. The following are actionable ways that you can help your son or daughter deal with their addiction.
Learn About Addiction
The most important way to deal with a drug-addicted son or daughter is to learn all you can about addiction. Talk to an addiction professional in your area and get reliable information from reputable internet sites. You need to learn about the complexities of addiction, the physical and psychological symptoms, and where you can go to get professional help. Having this information will help you gain confidence and hope that your child can recover.
When talking with your child about their substance abuse, it is crucial that you focus on listening fully and openly. Give your child space and security to give voice to their anger, frustration, and fears. In many instances, young people start using drugs to experiment due to peer pressure, or they may be feeling extraordinary pressure in school or even in the home. Be empathetic and give them a safe space to share what they feel.
Support Without Enabling
Another way to help your addicted son or daughter is learning how to support them fully without engaging in enabling behaviors. It is easy as a parent to try and “fix” the situation. However, doing so removes the consequences of their behavior. Therefore, it is important not to provide financial support or to cover for them if they experience issues at school or legal troubles. The support you should provide needs to focus on them becoming open to getting professional help.
Don’t Wait for “The Bottom.”
There is a common perception that addicts must hit rock bottom before they seek help. This perception can be very dangerous. Your child can experience severe physical and psychological issues stemming from their addiction long before they hit bottom. The truth is that your child should have professional intervention once the signs and symptoms of addiction are present. Likewise, you and your family don’t need to follow your child to the bottom.
Take Care of Yourself
Dealing with a child’s addiction can take a physical and emotional toll on you and your family. Prolonged stress can lead to an increased risk of depression, anxiety, and even substance abuse. To decrease these risks, take time to practice self-care. Exercise regularly, eat healthy meals and engage in healthy activities that you and your family enjoy. Having a clear mind will help you make better decisions for your child.
Setting Clear Boundaries
To help minimize or prevent the risk of addiction, you must set clear and consistent guidelines for your family. These guidelines help your children understand what behaviors are acceptable. Ideally, these guidelines should be a collaboration between you and your child or children. When done in that manner, all parties have a say regarding the consequences of bad behavior. These guidelines not only help your children, but they will also better equip you to deal with situations when they arise.
Dealing with a child who is struggling with drug addiction brings stress and shame to the family. While addiction is unpleasant to deal with, the above tips can help you, your child, and your family towards more positive and healthy outcomes. Don’t wait until your child’s addiction becomes dire; take action.