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How to Cope When a Child Struggles with Addiction: A Guide for Parents

Addiction can wreak havoc on a person’s life. When someone lives with untreated addiction, they can suffer a range of consequences. No part of their life is untouched–addiction chips away at their emotional wellbeing, physical health, relationships, and financial health. People who once were healthy can quickly slip deeper into addiction and struggle with even basic daily tasks. 

It is hard to watch a person you love as they struggle with the grasp of addiction. As a parent, watching your addicted child as they struggle may be the most difficult, emotional, and frightening experience you have.

No matter their age, you will always hope for what is best for your child. If your child develops an addiction, you may feel angry, sad, hopeless, guilty–or some combination of these feelings on any given day. 

If you are the parent of an addicted child, you likely also feel motivated–or even desperate–to help them get the help they need to overcome addiction and live a healthy, happy life. As their parent, you have a unique ability to offer unconditional love and support that can guide your child towards addiction recovery.

At the Mandala Healing Center, we offer support for people at any stage of their recovery journey. We also offer guidance and support to parents with addicted children. We know that addiction doesn’t just affect the addicted person–it impacts the lives of their loved ones and communities. You are not alone. Please reach out for more information about how we can support your whole family. 

Three Steps Parents With Addicted Children Should Take

Realizing that your child struggles with addiction can be overwhelming and emotional. Before you can help your  child get the help they need, you must get to a place where you can be calm, loving, and supportive. Here are three steps you should take to get started:

1. Learn About Addiction

It’s important to learn as much as you can about addiction, treatment, and recovery. When you understand the condition better, you will be in a better place to offer your child the patience and understanding they will need to work past addiction.

2. Let Go of Guilt and Shame

Parents with addicted children often question what they did “wrong” or how they contributed to their child’s addiction. Often, the stigma that surrounds addiction can seep into parents’ minds. However, it is important to let go of your own guilt and avoid shame as you work to support your child.

3.Focus on the Future

Letting go of the shame and guilt about the past will free your mind to focus on the future–and this is exactly where your attention should be. Effective treatment and lots of love and support can mean a fresh start in life. Take steps to move forward and heal as a family.

Helping Your Addicted Child

If your addicted child is an adult, you must accept that they make their own choices and must live with the consequences. You are not accountable for your child, but you can be accountable to them. The difference? You can offer your adult child support and choices, but you can not take responsibility for what they choose to accept.

First, you must approach the subject of getting addiction treatment from a place of love and acceptance instead of shame and anger. Focus on how much you love your addicted child and that you believe they can recover and live a healthy lifestyle of their choice. Offer unconditional love and support.

Then, think about how to support your child in practical ways. This may include:

  • Researching available treatment programs
  • Helping your child schedule a medical exam
  • Offering child or pet care so they can go to treatment
  • Reminding them of appointments
  • Offering rides to and from treatment
  • Helping to contact insurance companies to determine coverage
  • Offering a place to stay or financial assistance during treatment

When you help your child with the practical–but often difficult–parts of choosing to seek treatment, you make it easy for them to accept the help they need. The easier you make it for your child to get treatment, the more likely it will be that they are successful at overcoming addiction.

Taking Care of Yourself While Supporting Your Addicted Child

Supporting someone who struggles with addiction is tiring, emotionally draining, and often takes a lot of work. Watching your child struggle with addiction may be one of the hardest things you ever do as a parent. 

The rewards of offering this kind of unconditional support and love are worth it in the end, but it is important that you take good care of yourself so you can continue to do this hard work. You must find ways to care for yourself. These may include joining a support network for parents of addicted children or participating in individual or family therapy

When you are caring for an addicted child, taking care of yourself is not a luxury. It is an essential part of the healing recovery journey you and your child are taking together. 

Find Help for an Addicted Loved One Today

Addiction is a whole-self condition. Good addiction treatment should include healing for the body, mind, spirit, and community. At the Mandala Healing Center, we offer comprehensive, holistic treatment programs designed to empower people as they work to overcome addiction.

If you or someone you love needs substance abuse treatment or support during recovery, please reach out to the caring staff at the Mandala Healing Center today to find out more about the programs we offer.