Substance abuse affects not only the individuals using but also families and friends. It can be especially difficult for a child to watch their mother or father battle an addiction. The nonstop ups and downs at home can leave children feeling hopeless and confused. When family challenges take place, there isn’t an exact way to tell how a child will react. The different ways a child may respond to their parent’s addiction include:

  • Poor academic performanc
  • Withdrawing from hobbies and friends
  • Taking responsibility for parents or siblings
  • Trying to be perfect for everyone around them
  • Becoming angry or hostile towards life
  • Depression 

The National Association for Children of Alcoholics developed a list of strategies to encourage children’s healing through their parents’ recovery:

I didn’t cause it

Your child didn’t cause you to lose control, say hurtful things, or act in an inappropriate manner. It’s important for children to understand that they couldn’t prevent your addiction. How you acted when you were under the influence was not reflective of anything your child said or did.

I can’t cure it

An addiction is a disease and doesn’t mean you are a bad person. Explain to your child that recovery takes time and hard work, but it’s helping you become a much healthier person. 

I can’t control it

When you’re sad or upset, your child will do anything possible to make you feel better. However, when it comes to addiction, your child couldn’t control or stop you from abusing substances. Make sure your child understands that they are not the reason why you used a certain substance. Your addiction was not your child’s fault.

By communicating my feelings

Children may try to hide their feelings or shy away from the topic of addiction when it’s mentioned. Just like adults, children need an outlet where they can express what they think and how they feel. Choose someone trustworthy – a close family member, friend, therapist or teacher – who is willing to talk to them and be a listening ear.

Making healthy choices

Motivate your child to take care of their mind and body. How they feel inside and out affects their happiness. Let them have fun by playing with friends, going on a bike ride, joining activities at school or spending time outdoors. A healthy body, mind and spirit plays an important role in keeping your child’s mental health in check.At Asana Recovery, we understand how difficult recovering from these addictions through our daily work to help those struggling most from this disease. While some may believe they can make it alone, rehabilitation programs are essential in the fight to break the dependency. The road ahead is not a smooth or easy one, but you can traverse it if done so with the support of the right team. Counseling and aftercare processes can assist you by addressing the psychological facets that led you to addiction and help you build a structure from which to better cope with life without succumbing to addiction. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to learn more about our comprehensive drug and alcohol addiction treatment program today.


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