How To Deal With A Child Struggling With Addiction

By Matt Bulkley | Blog Education Series

STAR Guides Wilderness - How To Deal With A Child Struggling With Addiction

Breaking free from addiction can be a painful, emotionally draining journey for adults, let alone children. Addiction has many forms, but the reality is that it can take a toll on an individual’s family life. Parents, in particular, of children struggling with addiction, find it extremely challenging to deal with the consequences of their behavior.

In most cases, they feel responsible for their child’s conditions, and the guilt can be suffocating. In simple terms, the loss they feel watching their child waste away their golden years is indescribable.

If your child needs sex addiction counseling, or treatment for any other type of addiction, here are a few tips for you to get through the agonizing situation:

Communicate more

Open communication is key to successful and healthy family relationships. Reestablish strained ties with your child by maintaining open and honest communication with them.

However, ensure that the communication is direct and constructive. You do not want to get involved in the blame game, which is likely to fuel your child’s addictive behavior.

Most importantly, effective communication involves both talking and listening. Listen to your child’s feelings and opinions, and let them know how you feel as well.

Educate yourself

Learning about your child’s addiction will help you deal with their behavior in a rational manner. Deepen your knowledge of what compels your child to give in to their addictions and what you can do to alleviate your anxiety and help them overcome their inner demons.

Seek therapy

If you think that the situation is getting out of hand and you have hit rock bottom, seek counseling or professional therapy. Therapeutic programs can do wonders for an individual’s mental and emotional wellbeing.

Therapy becomes a necessity when a mother or a father feels personally liable for their child’s decisions. Aside from enabling them to think straight, a therapist will also educate them on coping mechanisms for dealing with an addict.

Several therapy programs offer services to the entire family in order to come together as a solid unit, in addition to dealing with addiction.

Love your child

Show love and support to your child, always. But remember to draw the line when needed. That means holding them responsible for their behavior. If you, for example, assist them financially and they misuse this privilege, stop giving them any more money. No matter how difficult it may be, some situations call for taking drastic measures.

Love yourself

Witnessing your loved one fall apart due to their addiction can be heartbreaking, but don’t forget take care of yourself. Remember, you have done the best you could and ultimately, we are all responsible for our own choices.

Accept that your child’s present state is due to their own conscious choices, not yours. There is nothing you could have done to rescue them. At some point in time, you should accept your limitations.

Although these tips play an integral role in helping parents and families deal with addiction, several wilderness therapy programs offer intensive therapy sessions involving both the youth and their parents. For any parent in need of a professional wilderness therapy for their child, STAR Guides is the right rehabilitation center for them. At STAR Guides, parents gain first hand insight into their child’s addiction issues and are educated on how they can disrupt the dependencies that have contributed to the problem behaviors. In addition, parents also participate in a two-day family expedition in the wilderness, together with their child at the conclusion of the program. Click here for more information.

About the Author

Matt is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has been working in the field of youth treatment and psychotherapy since 1995. He did his undergraduate work at BYU and earned his M.S.W. at the University of Utah. He has worked in a variety of treatment setting in his career ranging from wilderness therapy and residential treatment to outpatient treatment and state government.

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