Substance abuse cases in the US are shooting up. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one out of four 8 to 20-year-olds has engaged in substance abuse. Moreover, over 20 million people in the US have substance abuse problems. This skyrocketing number might make it easier to understand how many parents might be struggling with an addict in their house.
Finding out about your child’s substance abuse issue can be devastating for the parents. They may find themselves in the lurch, not knowing what to do and how to approach their child. In your helplessness, you may start acting in ways that do not come to you naturally. Just like a pendulum, you may swing between the decisions of being confrontational or lenient with your child for addressing the substance abuse situation.
One of the major risks of confronting your child is their tendency to misinterpret your endeavors. They may start distancing themselves and blame you for not being considerate of their situation. Parents also fear losing the love of their child. Ultimately this fear makes them complacent; they may start acting up as if they don’t know anything. This mishandling can encourage the wrong behavior in your child.
How to approach your child’s substance abuse problem?
For every parent dealing with the issue of substance abuse with their child, feeling of feebleness, misery and sadness are justified. But you have to get help for your kid as soon as possible. Remember, you have to think about saving their lives more than ensuring their love for you. Various rehabs work day and night to provide the best help to addicts of all age groups. But along with going for help, here is what you should do being a parent of an addict.
- Accept the situation
You cannot deal with a situation if you don’t acknowledge its presence. It is devastating for parents to accept that their kids might be abusing drugs. Therefore, denial seems the easiest way out. As human beings, we develop a natural propensity to repudiate something that we don’t want to deal with. Since parents don’t know what to do with their situation, they do the same. However, parents must start by accepting the matter if they intend to help their child.
- Be prudent in your approach to handling this situation
The stress of finding out about your child’s drug addiction can make you irrational. But you have to keep your calm. Even if your impulses ask you to confront your child or yell at them, you must not do it as this approach can deteriorate the situation.
Communicating with your child in this situation must be a slow and gradual process. Consider addiction as an illness of the mind and body. Would you yell at a sick person for their illness? Of course, not! A better way is to connect with the experts or communicate with parents who have had a similar issue with their child. They might be able to help you decide the best way to talk to your child. You must be ready to understand your child, what they have been through and what led them toward substance.
- Set healthy boundaries with your child
Once you suspect the issue of substance abuse at home, you have to recoil and re-think about setting boundaries with your kid. Though you cannot spit bouts of anger and frustration on your kid, you can be more vigilant about their activities. Kids thrive with accountability, discipline, and organization. Therefore, you have to adopt measures that discourage your kid from pursuing their habit further.
It is probable that your kid may have deceitful ways to get the drugs. They may even try to manipulate you emotionally. But you cannot give in to their demands. Other ways to develop boundaries include: not allowing them to take the car on their own and having an eye on their friends and who they hang out with. Remove alcohol from your house because seeing alcohol or witnessing people consuming alcohol is a strong trigger for an addict. Remember, helping your kid is teamwork; therefore, you may have to change things in the house too.
- Reduce access to valuables in the house
Sometimes parents enable their kid’s drug addiction by keeping valuables within their reach. The kid can steal the money or precious items from the house to arrange for their next dose. Many drug dealers also deal with jewelry and other precious items in exchange for drugs. Since your child is under the influence of drugs, they can never guess the value of the items they steal from the house. So, have a locker to keep the items out of their reach. Also, be vigilant when your child leaves the house and see if they have something in their hands or pockets.
- Take care of yourself in the process
The parents of the addict are the most affected people in the house. As you focus on your child’s needs, you can fall into depression yourself or experience burnout. The strain of taking care of your child can gnaw on your ability to practice self-care. An unhealthy increase in stress can lead to many mental and physical health issues. Therefore, taking care of yourself is essential for the parents of addicts. Here are some ways to do so.
- Do not hesitate to ask for help from your friends and family
- Join a support group to meet people with a similar situation
- Practice relaxation skills in the house
- Wear a mask in the house
- Join therapy sessions designed for the family members of addicts
Caring for yourself helps you care for your child more systematically. If you are experiencing anxiety, you cannot make the right decisions for your child. You may even become less effective in your approaches, ultimately ruining all the earlier efforts. To find out more about addiction visit Hader Clinic.
As much as it is traumatic to know about your child’s drug addiction, you cannot let yourself get weak. Even if your kid does not ask for help or may want to get further down the road of self-destruction, you cannot let that happen. This is only possible when you approach the matter prudently, make them understand that you know their situation, and you are there to help. At the same time, you cannot be neglectful of your health and well-being— only a healthy body and mind can make the right decisions.
Read more interesting articles at Goodthing2