children and addiction unable to balance life

There are an estimated over 24 million Americans who struggle with addiction to drugs and alcohol. And that’s not to mention other addictions, such as gambling, sex, tobacco, shopping, pornography, food, and many more.

Children of Addicted Parents

When a parent struggles with addiction, it affects the entire family. Palmetto offers family counseling for addiction as part of an overall treatment program in our rehabilitation centers. With all these people struggling with addiction, there are many children growing up surrounded by and being affected by these issues. These children grow up to face a lifetime of problems because addiction is not part of the discussion. Children of these homes struggle with emotional and behavioral problems. They tend to not do very well academically and are exponentially more likely to becomes addicts themselves. Additionally, homes with addiction tend to also be homes of unpredictability, abuse, neglect, divorce, or jailed parents.

While children learn to survive, the lack of parental supervision leads to insufficient responsibility and self-control. Unfortunately, many children of parents with addiction also blame themselves for their parents’ addiction. They feel it is their fault and can become resentful toward their parents. They also can feel that it is them versus the rest of the world. Those who are raised in this sort of environment learn to rely only on themselves. They tend to be very closed off emotionally and reluctant to allow anyone to get close or involved with their lives.

How to Talk to and What to Tell a Child Whose Parents Have an Addiction

Whether you are the parent recovering from an addiction, the other parent, a family member, or caretaker, there are many important factors to remember when talking to a child about addiction. When a parent enters drug rehab or rehab for alcohol, the children should be informed. Palmetto offers full assistance for the family dealing with substance abuse issues. First, keep the conversation age appropriate, while also making sure to tell the truth. Alter the language level and the amount of detail into which you go. Make sure that everything you tell the child is accurate. It is best to do your research on drug addiction before having this conversation, but if the child asks a question that you do not know the answer to, tell them such and let them know you will look into the correct answer for them.

Talking To Children About Addiction

Explain exactly what an addiction is, and how it stems from a number of factors: genetics, environment, or a combination thereof. Before going into a conversation with a child whose parent struggles with addiction, it is best to have a game plan in place so that you can not only explain what is happening, but also tell the child what you are doing to get help for that person.

Unfortunately, children are quick to blame themselves when their parent has an addiction, whether that be drugs or alcohol addiction. Make sure that the child understands that none of this is his or her fault, and that they did not cause the addiction. It’s important they know it’s not their duty to cure the addiction either. As they have probably convinced themselves that they are the cause of the addiction, this news will not come easily and you should give the child time to absorb and believe that none of this was their fault.

Help them understand that they are not alone, and that you will be there through every step of the way if they need you. Invite them to be open with you about how they are feeling or questions they have, but do not push too hard for them to open up. They typically learn to cope on their own because of being in an unhealthy home for so long that it will be hard for them initially to open up. But give them time, and prove to them that you are there for them no matter how long it takes. Let them know that you aren’t the only one who wants to help or listen. If they don’t feel comfortable talking to you, they can reach out to teachers, counselors, religious leaders, or even a therapist.

How to Talk to Your Child About Drugs, Alcohol, and Other Addictions

Whether or not your child has grown up around addiction, it is important to openly talk to them about drugs, alcohol, and other potential addictions.

Most parents struggle with how to raise their kids to not use drugs, abuse alcohol, give in to peer pressure, or fall into an addiction. However, many are unsure of how or are unwilling to talk to their kids honestly and openly. It is important to let your children know that you don’t want that kind of life for them, and to explain why. It is not okay to shove things under the rug and assume that they’ll hear the information in school.

Contact Palmetto Addiction Recovery Center Today

Some tips for talking to your child include being honest with them, asking questions and encouraging them to ask questions, listening to them and supporting them, but also to be clear cut about the dangers and effects of addictive substances or actions. Nurture your children and teach them, raising them in an open environment where they feel they can ask questions and learn. They should know that no matter what, they can always come to you for advice and help. If you shut them out and tell them they can’t have things or do things, the instinctive reaction is to do the exact opposite of what they’re told.

You love your child and always want what is best for them, and the easiest way for them to know that is for you to be their best role model.

Get your loved one the help they need so they can be the best parent they can be. Call 318.728.2970 if you have any questions about children and addiction or are ready to get the proper help. Contact us today.

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