Parenting is full of challenges, and you might have never dreamed that you would be the parent of a teenager who deals with addiction. While you might feel as though you did something wrong, the truth is that many teens fall prey to addiction. Your teen’s addiction might be rooted in an underlying mental health disorder, or they might have simply given in to peer pressure. Either way, these four tactics all help you to continue to be a good parent by supporting your child through their recovery.
Open Up the Channels of Communication
Teenagers tend to get secretive when they are in trouble, but this is usually a sign that they need your help. Talk to your teen openly about the things that you have witnessed that make you think that they are dealing with an addiction. As you do, make sure to use an empathetic tone that encourages your teen to open up rather than clamp their mouth shut. If you can get them to talk about their issues, it’ll be easier to help them get into a treatment program.
Give Them a Safe Environment to Begin Their Recovery
Willpower alone is not enough to help most people stop misusing drugs or alcohol. Teenagers are especially susceptible to things such as giving in to negative peer pressure if they try to recover from addiction alone at home. For this reason, you need to find them a safe place to begin their recovery. A residential inpatient program that is designed for teens helps your kid break away from the friends that they use drugs or alcohol with. It also allows them to feel comfortable working through the underlying reasons for their addiction in counseling.
Choose to Help Instead of Judge
Your first instinct might be to get mad at your teenager. You may even feel like you have raised them to know better. While your feelings are valid, you also need to remember that guilt and shame are emotions that drive addiction. If you need help figuring out how to handle your teen, then consider talking to their counselors. You might be able to take part in group and family therapy while your teen is in their treatment program that helps you know how to respond as a loving parent.
Provide a Structured Home Life Upon Their Return
Once your teen completes their treatment, they will still need to protect themselves against relapse. During the transition home, keep things simple by sticking to a set of agreed upon rules such as your teen having a consistent curfew and time to be home from school. Your teen may also need to continue to attend after care counseling to strengthen their ability to stay sober.
You can’t turn back time and go back to your teen’s earlier childhood years when you could stop them from doing drugs or using alcohol. However, you can help them to look toward a brighter future by continuing to be involved in their life. Make sure to connect with your child every day, and use the things that you learn in family counseling to help them maintain their sobriety as they mature into adulthood.