When your child enters the world you automatically realize the magnitude of responsibility you have in raising them. You have this innate understanding that every choice you make as it pertains to their life will ultimately impact how they turn out. You certainly don’t take this task lightly, and you constantly strive to make life the best it can be for your child.
But what do you do when you believe you’ve done everything right and things seem to somehow go wrong for your child? What if your child gets in with the wrong crowd and starts abusing drugs or alcohol? What if their choice to abuse those substances causes an addiction and a downward spiral in their life? Was it something you did wrong? Is there something you can do now to change it?
As parents it is our job to worry. We worry about our children and their lives no matter how old they get. However, one mistake we make is putting the blame on us when our children make a poor decision. The truth is, once they reach adulthood it is their life to live, and your job becomes being there to provide support.
Getting Help for Your Child
Naturally, you see your child struggling with their substance abuse problems, of course you want to help out. If and when your child is willing to admit that they have an issue with drugs or alcohol, the best thing you can do for them is choose the proper substance abuse treatment for young adults. You want to select a program that will offer them the best level of care while also catering to the needs and demands of a young adult.
Though it might be tempting to think you can handle something like substance abuse or addiction on your own, this is one battle that a parent cannot fight for their children. It is something they must come to do on their own. Offering them help such as guiding them through their treatment options is the best level of support any parent can provide.
How to Cope and Not be a Crutch
Parents often make the mistake of becoming the enabler or crutch when they see their children doing bad. Truth of the matter is, this will only hinder their ability to live a sober life and recover from addiction. Below are some suggestions on how to cope with your adult child’s addiction without being the crutch they learn to lean on for the next few years:
- Have a Talk (Intervention) – you certainly can’t force your adult child to get help with their drug or alcohol abuse problem. However, what you can do is make them aware of how their actions are affecting the entire family. Having a talk or staging an intervention is one way in which you can provide support, voice your concerns, and allow others who care for your child to voice their concerns as well.
- Don’t Go Overboard with Financial Assistance – If you’ve ever dealt with an addict before, you understand that excuse making is often their first line of defense. “I’ve been drinking more because I’m stressed out about bills” or “I only use marijuana as a way to calm down after the divorce.” Naturally, you try to help them out by offering financial assistance. However, this could be a crutch. Instead only offer assistance in a way that will prove beneficial to your child’s life. If they need help affording out of pocket costs for treatment, help them out. If they say they have bills that are stressing them out, pay the bill but don’t hand them the cash.
- Don’t Blame Yourself – No matter how your talk or intervention goes with your child you have to remember not to blame yourself. It is a real possibility that they won’t be receptive to what you have to say and they may even refuse your help. Trying is all that you can do at this point and if it falls on deaf ears (like most things parents say to their children do), you have to accept that and move on.
- Get Counseling for Yourself – Whether your child decides that they want to get help or not you should consider getting help for yourself. Addiction is a family disease and counseling for family members affected by their loved one’s addiction can help them in coping with it all. Talking with a family therapist that specializes in addiction is ideal as they can touch on helping you to pull together as a family unit, while also explaining to you the difficulties of overcoming addiction.
It’s never easy learning that someone you care about – especially your child is suffering with something as serious as substance abuse or addiction. No matter how much you want to blame yourself for their poor choices and stage a “rescue mission” to save them from themselves, this is not the way to handle things. Love your child by showing them what you see addiction doing to their life, and offer support in a way that is not enabling or hindering their process. In the end all you can do for your child is continue to stand strong and be that rock they need when they finally decide to turn their lives around.