With nearly two million youth aged 12-17 using drugs or alcohol each day, it has become a prevalent problem within the United States. Many parents find themselves scrambling to know what to do upon suspecting alcohol or substance abuse at home. Finding a good way to go about dealing with the problem can help your addict on the road to recovery and ease the parental stress of it. Included here are a few things to do when you suspect your child is using.
While you know it is important to confront your child about their habits, doing so with the wrong mindset can just lead to a blow-up. You are likely feeling personal guilt or shame as a parent that you need to first deal with. Acknowledge that your child is the one who got themselves into the scenario, it is not a result of you being a bad parent. Mentally decide what you need to talk about and deal with before you enter the conversation and emotions run high.
Develop a Healthy Environment
For many parents of addicts, the lines of communication are not open. Your child may not be interested in speaking with you about their problem and will lash out reactively. Before talking to your child, make sure they are in a safe environment where they feel comfortable. Try to eliminate distractions to keep them focused.
While talking to your child, it is important you are able to listen as well as speak about your concerns. Good questions to ask would be: “What caused you to start using? How are you planning for the future? Can you support this habit?” Forcing your child to really look at the ramifications of their addiction may help them come to terms with their choices.
Some parents believe that their lines of communication with their children have been irreparably damaged. They don’t see how they can mend fences and move forward if their children don’t listen to them. However, many children seek healthy relationships with their parents, in spite of past wrongs. Try reaching out to your kids and acknowledging that there are wrongs on both sides to allow you to move forward.
Create a Game Plan
Developing a strategy for dealing with your child’s substance abuse is critical to beating it. Before sending them off to rehab, it is important that you are sure they want to change. Getting your kid to acknowledge their problem and desire new life can be the only way rehab is a success. Sometimes, the best advocate for your child may be someone who is removed from the family. Consider having a recovering addict, counselor or pastor speak to your teen.