Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

How to Help Your Kids Struggling Through an Addiction

One of the most painful experiences as a parent is watching your child struggle. We know that we should give them opportunity to grow from their mistakes and learn from their own life’s failures, but it’s difficult for any parent to stand by and watch their child in pain, especially when that pain comes from drug addiction.

Firstly, know that this is not a personal failure on your behalf or a defect in your child. People develop addictions for many reasons, and often, they’re a coping mechanism for mental illnesses. No one knows exactly why addiction happens; even people struggling with substance abuse can’t articulate the hold a drug has over them.

It’s not your job to solve their problems, and you can’t cure their addiction. But you can help them get the help they need, even if it means making some incredibly difficult choices.

See a Therapist

Watching a loved one struggle with addiction is devastating, and it can quickly unravel a once close and intimate relationship. The pain, anger and sorrow you feel is normal, but it shouldn’t be dealt with alone. Talking to a licensed mental health professional can give you support and help you navigate your next steps.

Therapists can help you set healthy boundaries with your child that will prevent codependency. Enabling is one of the worst things you can do for someone with an addiction, even if it just feels like you’re taking care of them.

Get yourself the mental support you need so that you’re in the best condition possible to help your child.

Set Limits

Do not pay for your child’s living expenses if they are an adult, especially if they have lost their job due to their addiction. Many people fall back on their parents as their substance abuse worsens, but having others shoulder the responsibility of their life only gives them more time to focus on the very thing that’s destroying them.

If your child is a minor, you need to have a serious discussion with them about their behavior. Helping teens recover from addiction is imperative to their future growth. Drugs and alcohol impact teen’s brains in sometimes irreversible ways, so time is truly of the essence.

Explore Options

Look for local rehabs that offer a residential inpatient program. These are the most effective forms of addiction treatment, but you may also want to discuss individual counseling, detox services and outpatient programs as well based on your child’s needs.

Rehabs will also be able to talk to you about staging a formal or informal intervention. Often, the biggest hurdle to getting treatment for substance abuse is knowing where to get help in the first place. When you have help ready to extend, your child is more likely to accept it.

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Integrated Family Community Services is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization.

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IFCS’ Tax ID # 84-0579740