How Can I Support My Child Who Struggles With Addiction?

Many parents describe having a child as “having your heart live outside your body.” You do your best to protect your children, give them the love they need and guide them on the path to a happy and healthy life. Therefore, it can be disheartening to find out that your child is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction. The relationship may deteriorate as your child is difficult to talk to or understand, especially if they do not accept responsibility for their actions. 

Remember that you are not to blame for their addiction. You should learn how to support your child in healthy ways that protect your mental health and offer them the best chance at success in recovery. Here is how to help a child struggling with addiction.

Learn About Codependency

Codependency is a type of relationship dynamic that involves one person trying to save the other despite their own emotional or physical needs in a way that enables the other person’s bad habits. Codependent relationships are common when addiction is present because the codependent wants to save the other person from addiction. 

Codependents often engage in behaviors that enable the addiction, such as lending the person money, making excuses for them, taking on their responsibilities, and more. This kind of relationship is most common in couples or parents and children. Boundaries are virtually nonexistent, causing further dysfunction in the relationship. By understanding codependency, you can recognize these behaviors in yourself and put a stop to them, so you are no longer enabling your child’s addiction.

Stop Enabling Behaviors

Once you know what codependency is, you must recognize any enabling behaviors you may be engaging in. Many parents unknowingly enable their child’s addiction even though they have good intentions. Covering for a child’s responsibilities when hungover or lying on their behalf when they missed an obligation due to addiction are common examples of enabling.

Continually providing your child with money can fund their addiction, just as protecting them from the negative parts of the world can absolve them of any wrongdoing. They know there are no consequences to their actions, so they continue behaving the way they do. Therefore, even though it may seem unnatural, stopping these behaviors can help your child realize the damage they are doing is crucial in supporting them.

Educate Yourself on Addiction

There is a significant stigma surrounding addiction fueled by inaccurate information and portrayals circulated to the general public. Even if you believe you understand addiction, researching the subject can give you a more in-depth understanding that you may not have had before. Learning how addiction works by hijacking the body can help you better understand what your child is going through, thus erasing any false assumptions you may have had. You should also research treatment options so you can help them heal and stay sober. 

Set and Uphold Boundaries

Setting boundaries with your child may be challenging at first, but doing so is crucial for maintaining your health and well-being as you navigate supporting them. Boundaries also show your child that their behaviors and addiction are not okay and causing damage to those around them. When you set boundaries and uphold them, they will realize that their actions have consequences. 

Some boundaries you should consider setting are having a curfew for your child, not allowing drug use in the house, or reducing allowance if rules are broken. However, you have to make sure you uphold these boundaries, or else your child will continue misbehaving. 

Seek Professional Help

Despite everything you may be doing on your own, it will most likely not be enough to stop your child’s addiction. Professional treatment is crucial for a successful recovery and long-term sobriety. The staff at treatment facilities are there to help your child overcome their challenges and address the underlying causes of their addiction. Many facilities even have family programs that can help rebuild family dynamics and relationships and teach loved ones about the ins and outs of the disease. 

If you are unsure how to navigate the next steps concerning your child’s addiction, reach out to a local treatment center. The staff will give you the best options for you and your family and work with you to establish a plan. You can even discuss your mental health as well and maybe see a therapist on your own. No matter what, professional help is crucial for your child to recover and live a happy, healthy life.

Watching your child suffer from addiction is heartbreaking, but you can’t be the one to accept responsibility for their actions and try to heal them. There are ways you can support them, but you must do your research and protect your mental health during the process. As you navigate this confusing and complicated time, reaching out to a treatment facility can help ease your pain and help with planning. NorthStar Transitions has vast experience in assisting families in addressing a child’s addiction and getting the person they help they need. We offer a combination of traditional and holistic therapies and family programs to help rebuild bonds and educate family members. At NorthStar, we believe in making an actual difference through evidence-based clinical practices tailored to one’s individual needs in recovery. You are sure to find healing at our facility nestled in the Colorado mountains. Call us today to learn more at (303) 558-6400.

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