As we discussed in our post about things you should know as the parent of an addict, it can be difficult to know how you can help your child when you know they are struggling. On the one hand, you can’t make your child want to change his or her life, but on the other hand, you don’t want to wait for things to escalate until the very worst happens. If you are currently the parent of a child with a drug or alcohol addiction, here are some tips on how you can help.

Set boundaries.

One of the most important things you can do as a parent is set boundaries. Setting boundaries will keep you from inadvertently enabling your child’s addiction, and it can prevent codependency from developing in your relationship as well. Examples of boundaries to set include:

  • Not covering expenses such as rent, bills, gas, or groceries
  • Not paying for bail or a lawyer if your child gets in legal trouble
  • Not lying or covering for your child
  • Not allowing any drugs in your household
  • Not allowing any drug using friends in your household

Setting these types of boundaries can be hard, but ultimately they will help your child take responsibility for their actions.

Ask your child to talk to a medical professional.

Maybe your child isn’t willing to consider rehab, but they might be willing to talk to a doctor about their health. Consider getting your teen or young adult to an appointment with a doctor who can warn them about the health risks of drug use. A doctor cannot take the role of an interventionist, of course, but they can serve as that third-party individual who gives your child a rational look at what might happen if the addiction continues.

Reach out to an addiction treatment center.

One of the best things you can do is reach out to an addiction treatment center for information on treatment options and what services might be available to families. Addiction treatment specialists can help you get in touch with someone who can help, and they can give you the information you need to present a safe and effective treatment option to your son or daughter. Use the information you receive to talk with your child about how they can reverse the “downward spiral” they are in. Your child may not listen at first, but you will at least plant a seed—which you can continue to sow through love, patience, and open communication.

This is not an exhaustive list, of course, but it can give you some ideas for helping a child who has been unwilling to listen to your previous efforts. There are a myriad of additional resources out there that can help you support your child in the best way possible. Overall, be sure that you continue to show love for your child and a desire to help.