Tips for Parents of Child Addicts
Parents of child addicts primarily have one goal for their child, to safely withdraw and get treatment for the addiction. Parents must become highly educated on addiction to understand what their child is facing. Family counseling is crucial to learn how to avoid relapse, support the child addict in recovery and delve into why the addiction may have occurred. Building a strong family unit to beat addiction is the recovery goal. Meanwhile, exploring the family history can allow a glimpse into possible generational habits.
Addiction in the Family
Parents of child addicts may not be aware that addiction can be a generational illness. Genetics is the basis for many addictions. Genetics accounts for roughly 60% of the addictions to drugs and alcohol. Other influences can include environmental factors and the possibility of a co-occurring mental illness. Parents of child addicts need to be aware of the following:
- Parents who are addicts can expect their children to be eight times more likely to become addicted.
- Half of all child addicts also experience at least one mental illness.
- Roughly 20 million people in the US aged 12 and over have used illegal drugs within the last 30 days.
- The presence of treatment and recovery from addiction in the family can encourage other addicted family members to seek help.
Signs that Your Child is Addicted to Drugs
Parents of child addicts can be blind-sided, but they usually are aware that something is wrong with their children. As a result, they may try to overlook abnormal behaviors because it is easier to avoid the truth. However, when you have a loved one addicted to drugs or alcohol, you know it. Physical signs of addiction can include:
- Red eyes or flu-like symptoms
- Inconsistent eating and sleeping habits
- Lethargy and fatigue
- Inability to speak clearly
- Lack of coordination
- Unexplained illnesses
Behavioral and emotional signs that point to addiction in a child can include:
- Changes in the peer group or friendships
- Loss of interest in usual hobbies
- Moodiness and irritability
- Depression or anxiety symptoms
- Secretive behaviors
- Poor school performance
- Immediate defensiveness or hostility when asked about drug use
- Missing money
- Being absent for periods
- Locked bedroom door
Five Tips for Parents of a Child Addicts
Five no-nonsense tips for parents of child addicts can begin the journey for treatment and recovery. Never ignore the problem. Start to work towards building trust and a strong supportive bond with the child.
1. Learn as much as possible about addiction. Making an effort to learn about addiction and what detox, treatment and recovery can mean to your child is vital. In addition, education will support your stance about addiction and what processes you will be facing with your addicted child.
2. Connect with understanding peers. Very effective resources are the support groups available for free help. For example, Al-Anon is for family members of alcoholics, which also has a group for teenagers affected by alcoholism called Teen Corner. Narcotics Anonymous is a support group for addicts involved with drugs.
3. Go to family therapy sessions. Family group therapy is supportive and shows the addicted child how much the family wants to help. The family members can form a strong bond in family therapy. Learning how to use practical communication skills is of utmost importance.
4. Prepare meals and eat them as a family. You provide time and effort to eat healthy foods and encourage conversation and listening. Allowing your child to help prepare meals is a great way to promote fun and laughter.
5. Manage expectations. Learn not to expect things to happen as you are hoping they will. Squashing the opportunity for disappointment to seep in is always beneficial to the situation.
Tips for Talking to Your Child about Drugs
Talk to your child about drugs, alcohol, and the possibility of addiction. Education is the best weapon against drug or alcohol use through curiosity or experimentation. Always talk to your teenager when they are sober. Parents of child addicts are aware of their behaviors. However, if your child is high, they will not absorb the information you are offering them. Always make it clear that you want to help them and love them.
Parents of child addicts need to understand that if their child feels attacked, they will close themselves off from you mentally and physically. Education concerning addiction being a medical illness and a generational problem is helpful. Ask questions and then listen to the responses. Ask the child if they understand or know why they began using drugs or alcohol. Children need to know there are healthy, positive methods to address emotions and feelings they can not process.
Find Addiction Treatment for your Child in Atlanta, GA
Find detox and addiction treatment for your child in Atlanta with Retreat of Atlanta. It’s difficult to see a child suffering from a medical illness. However, addiction specialists at our center have experience working with child addicts. We provide a supportive and genuine environment for treating and recovering from child addiction. Contact us today.