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What can parents do to help their child break free of an addiction?

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Overcoming drug addiction is a difficult process and support from close people is extremely valuable, but it has to be appropriately channeled to have an effect.

It is never easy watching a dear person suffer from substance abuse, and it is natural for a parent to feel the need to get involved. However, such attempts often end up causing more harm than good, since the parents don’t know the right way to approach their children. It could be argued that educating parents is just as important as reaching out to endangered youths, since any prevention or therapy programs are bound to be unsuccessful without the appropriate family support.

Here are a few quick pieces of advice for any parent looking for a smart way to contribute to his child’s recovery from drug dependency:

Abstain from judgment

Beneath every addiction, there is a psychological deficiency that is being masked by the acute problem. Social pressure can only worsen the situation and cause the person to become even more isolated from their environment. Instead of patronizing behavior, parents would do better to assume a neutral position and accept their children with all of their imperfections. If the child feels unconditionally loved, it is more likely to connect with the parent and agree to more substantial forms of assistance. Substance abuse is not a sign of moral failure but rather a medical issue that some people are more susceptible to than others, and blaming them for the problem is counterproductive, to say the least.

Participate in therapy

Some forms of therapy rely on direct participation of close friends and parents in the group sessions, while in other cases the role of a family member is less prominent. No matter which method is chosen, it is very important for the parent to remain well informed about the course of therapy, as well as any signs of progress. Any underlying issues between family members that could be contributing to the problem can be addressed in an impartial context under professional supervision, clearing the way for continued improvement. The therapist will be able to recognize when presence of the parent is desired, and when is the time for the family to step back and afford the patient with some space.

Develop and maintain trust

One of the most devastating consequences of drug abuse is the destruction of trust within a family unit. Once this happens, it takes a long time to reestablish normal relationships based on mutual respect and confidence. Again, a parent should take a proactive role in this process and be ready to forgive past transgressions, but only on condition that similar episodes are not repeated. It is important to remember that confidence is a two-way street and that small demonstrations of good will can have a huge impact on the person attempting to reenter the society after a period of addiction, especially if interpersonal relations have been heavily damaged in the past.

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