Being a parent comes with a huge amount of responsibility, and the path is not always easy. There are going to be challenges when it comes to keeping your children safe and happy.
Discovering that your child is living with a drug addiction can be devastating, but there is hope for the future. Here we look at some of the most beneficial ways of supporting your child through their substance abuse and recovery process.
You may find it difficult to confront your child about their addiction, especially if they are at an age where they live independently from you. Finding the right approach takes some work so we have laid out some helpful techniques, along with some unhelpful behavior to avoid in this scenario.
Trust your instincts as a parent or parents; the stress may cloud your judgement but listen to your inner voice and remember that your love for your child is one of the most healing contributions to their recovery.
Everyone’s addiction is unique, as is their recovery. Although your son or daughter may always have to be mindful of their addictive behaviors, a fulfilled life of sobriety can be their future.
Standing beside them through the process can be the necessary hand on their shoulder to get them through. We look at some of the best ways to offer emotional support, sustain strong family relationships, and maintain necessary self-care throughout the process.
In order to truly support your child through their drug use, you first need to fully understand addiction, and the symptoms and behaviors associated with it.
When reading about substance use disorders, choose reputable sources and only read medically reviewed information. There is still a lot of stigma around addictive behaviors and absorbing misinformation about the disorder could lead you and your child to feeling further isolated from one another.
Research suggests that there are a number of things which lead young people into addiction, including environment, genetics, and altered brain development. This is contrary to the previously held belief that those who engage in drug taking are morally corrupt or have poor self-control.
No matter what the catalyst for your daughter’s drug taking, there is help available and a drug-free future ahead is possible.
Joining support groups with other parents managing a child’s addiction can be a very effective and supportive way to learn about addiction. If your child is in the early days of recovery you can take advice and motivation from those further on in the journey; likewise, if you are further on in the process you can offer support and hope for those at the beginning.
Choosing a treatment center which values a strong family unit can make a positive contribution to your child’s addiction recovery. Although your daughter is the person undergoing substance abuse treatment, the impact of her drug abuse is felt by the entire family.
Family therapy can help you find ways to communicate with each other in a constructive and supportive way, where everyone is able to talk about their feelings and feel heard. A family therapist can also help you to create and set boundaries, an important step we will discuss below.
Family involvement in the recovery process plays an important role in supporting your child and, crucially, yourself. Your own health and well being are not secondary in this scenario; if you neglect your own life and needs you will not be capable of supporting your daughter through this journey.
In addition to family therapy, there are resources and support groups available for the whole family of substance users. These groups can offer invaluable support and hope for healing together with your loved one.
One of the most important, but often challenging, steps you can take to support your child is to create and maintain healthy boundaries. These are rules and agreements which encourage respectful and supportive behavior for everyone experiencing the recovery process.
These boundaries may incorporate ideas around time commitments, personal space, possessions, honesty, respect, house rules, and many other things which are uniquely important to your family.
When establishing these boundaries, consider your child’s health, other family members, and crucially, your own needs. Despite the fact that your daughter is living with a severe mental health issue, there is not only one person to nurture and care for.
When you have put boundaries in place, ensure that you have communicated these clearly and that they have been understood. This way, even in particularly difficult moments you can work together as a unit to maintain these healthy boundaries.
It takes a lot of work from everyone around to stay on the recovery track. As a parent, the love and protection you have for your daughter may override other feelings. It’s important not to give in to certain instincts which at times will be very strong.
Here we look at some of the things you want to avoid if your son or daughter is struggling with alcohol abuse or a substance use disorder.
Enabling behavior is a very common trap to fall into. As a parent, it can be tempting to make excuses for your addicted child and their behavior. This often comes from a well-meaning position, as you may want to protect them from unkind judgement or criticism.
However, downplaying or denying that they are battling addiction can reinforce their own ideas that they do not need treatment and result in them rejecting a rehab program.
Drug and alcohol use can have negative consequences on your child’s physical and mental health, their relationships, career, studies, and crucially, their sense of self.
Even when you have your daughter’s best intentions at heart, it is possible to fall into a pattern of enabling. There is a spectrum of this behavior, from lending them money to smothering and controlling them. Being aware of all of these possibilities can keep you in the best position for you and your child.
Once you stop enabling your child’s behavior, you will find supportive ways of responding to her mental illness, from positive reinforcement, to honest discussion, to exemplary self care.
Feelings of shame and guilt are typically very present for individuals who are abusing drugs. Adding to this by blaming or judging your child for their substance use is only going to contribute to her low self esteem and addiction triggers.
Abusing substances is a common way of dealing with difficult or traumatic life experiences. Attributing blame to your addicted daughter or son is likely to further isolate them.
In addition to this, blaming yourself or taking responsibility is not a constructive way to deal with a drug addiction in the family. Family members often carry guilt for their role in substance use disorders; however, it is almost always a combination of triggers which result in substance use, and the responsibility is not for one person to bear.
Focus on creating a support network for your child which can channel your energy into positive, healthy steps forward.
Treating your child as though they are incapable of anything alone can be detrimental to their overall progress.
Although your intentions are likely to ease some pressure and make their lives easier, there is a risk they will believe that they are powerless on their own. Allow your child to take control of their life and build up their self confidence again.
Remember that she is a person in her own right and her substance abuse does not define her.
If your daughter is in the grips of a drug addiction, it may be hard to imagine another reality. But there is hope: extensive scientific research has found a number of effective evidence-based treatment methods for recovery from substance abuse.
At Empowered Recovery, we take a multi-faceted approach. Our addiction recovery programs combine a range of treatment options tailored to our client’s needs. We don’t only treat the symptoms of addiction, but we also look at the underlying triggers and co-existing mental health disorders which contribute to substance use disorders. Some of the modalities we incorporate:
A quality treatment program will include comprehensive aftercare to support clients at the end of their rehab program. At Empowered Recovery, this includes connecting you with local support groups and offering continued recovery coaching.
If you are worried about your daughters drug use, contact us at today to discuss the treatment options. We can offer confidential advice about supporting you and your family through this challenging time. One of our compassionate staff members will take your call and answer any questions you have about the journey to sobriety and health for your daughter.
Contact our team to find out how we can help you