It isn’t uncommon for children to fall into situations or make decisions that dishearten their parents. You as a parent might even suddenly find yourself the parent of a child who is addicted to drugs or alcohol. Being the parent of an addict can be extremely difficult, as it is hard to know how you can help. How do you help your child get the help they need while still allowing them to make their own life decisions? Here are a few things you should know about being the parent of an addict.
Don’t blame yourself.
There are, of course, times when a parent may have largely influenced the onset of a child’s addiction. But remember—a variety of non-domestic factors can contribute to an addiction, including family history, co-existing disorders, prescribed medications, lifestyle, and social circles. Moreover, your child is (likely) already an adult who is in charge of making their own life decisions. If your child has developed an addiction, be sure to look at the larger picture of what might have contributed to the addiction.
Understand that your child isn’t necessarily to blame, either.
In many cases, there are definitely critical decision making points that are involved in developing an addiction. But oftentimes these decisions represent only part of the picture. Moreover, a variety of factors can come together to cloud decision making, resulting in decisions that you yourself wouldn’t make. Let’s say, for example, that someone suffers from depression and that they have a family history of addiction. Genetics alone can make you seven times more likely to develop a substance addiction in your lifetime. Depression can increase your risk even further, as substance abuse often begins as a form of self medication. Add to that a drug’s ability to rewire the brain and claim top priority in a person’s life. This individual may very well develop an addiction in their lifetime, but you cannot say that it is solely a result of poor decision making. Every addiction develops as a result of a wide variety of factors.
You need healing, too.
Addicts are not the only ones affected by an addiction; addiction affects an addict’s family and friends as well. Therefore, do not hesitate to reach out for help when you realize your child has developed an addiction. Here at A Mission for Michael, for example, we engage family members from the very first phone call. We also offer 90 minutes of family-only therapy per week. If you have a child or loved one who is suffering from an addiction, give us a call today to help get them started on their journey to recovery.