Using drugs during adolescence and the teenage years can directly impact the development of a child’s brain. These changes are usually long-term with very slim chances of reversing the damage, potentially leading to learning deficits or health problems later in life. It’s essential to talk to your children about the risks to their health when they try drugs. But what about the kids who already have an addiction? What will happen to them?
It may seem daunting to prepare your child for recovery. It can also be very stressful on the family unit, but it is vital that your child feels supported throughout the process. Family involvement in rehabilitation for children is a pivotal factor in their success. There are many beneficial ways that your family can become involved in a loved one’s addiction recovery.
Learn About Your Child’s Addiction and Recovery
Understanding why your child chose to use drugs can be very hard on parents or siblings. Sometimes, parents feel like they may have done something wrong, but this is not true. There may be many reasons why your child chose to try drugs. A person’s environment, psychological traits, and stress levels all play significant roles in the use of alcohol or drugs.
For young people, who they spend their time with and how they handle peer pressure can also be major factors. Learning about your child’s addiction is key to helping them – and understanding their position also contributes to a non-judgmental attitude. When it comes to addiction in adolescents and teens, getting help for them as soon as possible is very important. People who start using drugs or alcohol early in life run a higher risk of becoming dependent.
Research suggests that children experiment with drugs based on their perceived risks of using. It would be a good family exercise to learn about drugs and their long-term negative impacts on health. Learning the details about your child’s recovery is also essential because it allows you to give support. It’s hard to be a positive influence if you do not understand the process they are going through.
Participate in Intake and Treatment Plans
Participating in intake and treatment is another way to understand your child’s recovery process. Here, you can ask any questions you have about what your child will experience. By helping to create a treatment plan for your child, you can show them that you are supporting their recovery and they are not doing it alone. Children need to feel secure, and addiction recovery often makes them feel very vulnerable. Parental involvement can help them feel comfortable with the treatment, which is vital to success.
Practice Open Communication
An open flow of communication is critical in any relationship. Having open communication with your child is also critical to their recovery. Free channels of communication mean that your child may come to you with issues they may have tried to hide before. When this happens, a non-judgmental attitude is necessary. If a child feels like they will be judged or given harsh punishment, they may keep difficult issues to themselves.
There has to be a foundation of trust. Open communication while in recovery is also essential to make sure your child is getting the best care possible. A person needs to feel comfortable with their therapist or counselor to be honest with them. Kids view adults as authority figures, and sometimes that leads to less trust.
Your child will likely feel vulnerable during this time, and you must communicate that it is okay to feel that way – your child needs to understand that their feelings are real and valid. Explaining to them that you also struggle with emotions and urges is an excellent way of showing that what they are experiencing are normal human fears and concerns.
Attend Family Group Therapy
Families may find it challenging to adjust to the person who is in recovery, who now behaves differently than before and needs lots of support. Even after a family member begins treatment and recovery, other family members may continue unhealthy behaviors. This is why family group therapy is so beneficial.
Often, people are not aware of how their actions affect others – and this is especially true for parents and their children. Young people are very impressionable, and many look to their parents or siblings as examples. If family members are engaging in negative behaviors, it can influence the child. Negative behaviors that remain in the family may also make your child feel that it’s okay to take recovery less seriously.
If a family member has problems and they do not seek treatment or healthy solutions, your child probably won’t take recovery very seriously either. Family therapy helps show your child that their family is supportive of their recovery in all ways. If the whole family chips in towards living a healthier lifestyle, it may influence your child to do the same.
Give Non-Judgmental Support
We’ve talked a lot about non-judgmental attitudes while dealing with your child’s addiction and recovery. This may seem a lot easier said than done, but the benefits for your child’s recovery are well worth the effort. It’s important to create an atmosphere of acceptance and loving compassion for your child.
If they fear they will be ridiculed or looked down upon, they will be less likely to attend treatment or engage in open communication. The same goes for their peer group. If your child is attempting sobriety, they may be ridiculed by their friends and peers. In that case, it’s even more critical for your child to have a safe space where they can be mindful of their recovery and feel less vulnerable – and that safe space can be the family.
If you or someone in your family is struggling with addiction, you don’t have to go through it alone. We can help you all get through this experience together. Contact Sustain Recovery today at (949) 407-9052.