Parents of addicts can often feel helpless. They may feel like no matter how much they love their children, they just can’t save them from the grips of addiction. It’s true that your children need professional help if they are going to conquer addiction and stay on the road to recovery, but there are many things that you can do as a parent to help.
Here are a few things that parents of addicts can help their children:
Many people approach addicts with reproaches. They tell them all the ways that they have failed, and they criticize them for failing to show up to work, for spending all their money on drugs, and for other shortcomings. While it may be true that these are failings, constantly pointing out mistakes isn’t going to inspire anyone to do better. In most cases, it will make the person feel like they are unable to do any better – like they were just born to be bad.
You will get much better results by focusing on the things your child is doing well and on encouraging positive behaviors. Instead of criticizing your child for hanging out with people who use drugs in Peoria, comment positively when you see him spending time with people who have a healthy influence. Instead of pointing out another relapse, celebrate how many days/weeks/months your child went without using. The more you focus on the positive, the less abnormal it will seem for you to do so, and the more you will build your child’s self-esteem and sense of personal power. That will then encourage your child to engage in healthier activities, be better prepared to face challenges, and to build healthier relationships.
No matter how old your “child,” guidelines are important. They let him or her know what you expect and what behaviors will be acceptable or unacceptable. It is important that you establish these guidelines with your child and then be consistent in enforcing them.
For example, you may decide that if your child fails to show up for work, then you will not provide financial assistance. You should work with your child and his or her recovery counselor (if available) to develop appropriate guidelines at your child’s current stage of recovery.
Guidelines are about what you expect; boundaries are about what you will accept (or not). For example, you may say that you will support your child in their recovery, but you put a boundary on providing financial assistance. You may participate in family counseling, but you may have a boundary on being yelled at, either in counseling or at home.
It is important that you think carefully through your boundaries and that you communicate them clearly to your child. If your child violates those boundaries, you should remind him or her of them and communicate them again.
Many addicts feel that they are not loved, and they have a hole deep inside that they are trying to fill. Others feel that they do not have the support of family and friends and that no one would care if they weren’t around anymore. By strengthening the relationship you have with your child, you can help him feel loved and supported, which can encourage him to take steps toward recovery and seek to build a healthier lifestyle.
You can strengthen your relationship by improving your communication, becoming more engaged with your child, and by consistently expressing love and acceptance. Be kind and respectful toward your child, and focus on the good. Let him know that you are always there for him, even if he makes mistakes.
It’s never easy to watch your child struggle with addiction, and you can’t always solve the problem. But you can help your child through this challenging time by being a constant source of love and support. Encourage your child to get professional help for his addiction, and work with counselors to learn more ways that you can be a positive presence and help your child through recovery.
Corebella Health and Wellness is here to help you and your family through the addiction and recovery process. Our counselors offer support for the whole family, and they can give you feedback about ways that you can help your child during the initial recovery phase and beyond. We offer a variety of treatment methods to help addicts conquer their addiction and start building a healthier life. Call us today to learn more.
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