Approximately 50 percent of all Americans have a family member or close friend who struggles with addiction. Does this sound familiar to you?
If your child is an addict, you’re not alone when it comes to worrying about their well-being and wanting the best for them. As a parent, though, it can be hard to identify the best ways to care for your child when they’re caught in the throes of addiction.
Listed below are 10 tips for the parents of addicted adults. These tips will help them cope with their own challenges and provide support to their children without enabling them.
1. Hold Them Accountable
One of the most important things you can do for your loved one who’s dealing with addiction is to hold them accountable for their actions. Emphasize that they have made choices that have led them to the place they’re in now. They didn’t get there by chance or because of someone else.
This doesn’t mean you have to berate or belittle them. If they start to blame others for their problems, though, gently remind them of the reality of the situation.
2. Show Them Love
At this point in their life, your child needs to now that they’re loved. Part of showing love is holding them accountable. There’s more to the story, though.
Remind them (out loud, when you can) that you love them and are there for them. When they’re open to talking, talk to them about their situation and what they can do to start turning things around. Be present and listen, rather than doling out potential solutions and talking over them.
3. Protect Yourself
While you need to show your child love during this period, you also need to make sure you’re protected and can’t be taken advantage of. It’s not uncommon for addicts to steal from the people closest to them when they’re short on cash and need to buy drugs or are in trouble in another way.
Lock up your valuables in a safe and avoid leaving cash lying around the house. You may want to hide your wallet, too, so they can’t access any cash or credit cards that you have available.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Parenting a child struggling with addiction is often exhausting. It’s easy to find yourself consumed with their behavior and well-being and let yourself fall by the wayside. Remember, though, that the more you care for yourself, the better you can care for others.
Make sure you’re eating healthy, balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day. Stick to a consistent sleep schedule as much as you can, too, and exercise a few times per week. These simple acts of self-care will help you ensure you’re healthy enough to show up for your child and the other members of your family.
5. Learn About Addiction
Addiction is a very misunderstood disease, even among people whose children are addicts. It’s easy to develop misconceptions about addicts that can hold you back from providing your child with the support you need.
To avoid this, make sure you’re doing your homework and learning as much as you can about addiction. Research your child’s drug of choice, too, and the potential effects they may experience as a result of abusing it.
6. Manage Your Expectations
It’s important to have realistic expectations for a child who’s an addict. You can hope for the best for them, but you should also keep in mind that recovery is not linear.
Your child will go through ups and downs, even if they have a true desire to get sober. There will be times when they relapse and fall off the wagon, and they’ll need you there to encourage them. Be sure to manage your expectations so you can continue supporting your child without being unrealistic.
7. Limit Financial Support
There’s nothing wrong with wanting to provide your child with financial support, especially when they’re in the early stages of recovery. Don’t offer more support than you can afford, though.
Keep an eye on your finances and be honest about what you can and cannot do for them. Remember, too, that you’re not a bad parent or a failure if you don’t have the means to support them in every way.
8. Go to Therapy As a Family
You might not be able to give your child a blank check every month to help them along, but there are plenty of other things you can do to assist them. For example, you can arrange for everyone in the family to go to therapy together. Family therapy often plays a key role in the recovery process and can help everyone involved to get the support they need.
9. Go to Therapy Alone
Make sure you’re going to therapy on your own, too. You might blame yourself for our child’s addiction or struggle with unhealthy thoughts or behaviors in response to their actions. You might also just need to talk to someone who understands and won’t be judgmental.
There’s nothing wrong with going to therapy. It should be an essential part of everyone’s self-care regimen, even if you can only afford to go once a month.
10. Help Your Child Find Additional Support
You might not be able to provide as much support to your child as you might like. That doesn’t mean you have to leave them on their own, though.
If your child comes to you about trying to get sober, sit down with them and help them find additional means of support. Do research to learn about the drug and alcohol rehab center options in your area. Look up support groups and therapy options, too.
Try These Tips for Parents of Addicted Adults Today
As you can see, there are lots of strategies parents of addicted adults can use when working to help their children get sober. If you’ve been struggling as you watch your child battle addiction, give these tips a try today.
Do you want to learn more about addiction and addiction recovery? If so, we have lots of helpful articles available in the Health section of our website. Check them out today.