Perhaps you’ve already caught your teen using drugs. You found paraphernalia in his room, or caught him red-handed as you drove by the neighborhood hangout. Maybe this isn’t the first time the substance abuse has happened. You’ve noticed he has developed the preliminary signs of addiction, and you know that his drug habits are recurring despite their destructiveness. Watching this battle against substance addiction can be extremely challenging for parents. You want to help him, but as a mother or as a father, you just don’t know how much you can offer.
Teens, because of their stage of brain development, can be tough. Your son or daughter may not want to listen to you, and may ignore your threats at punishment. He or she may not take you seriously, or laugh when you suggest professional addiction treatment. Part of you may want to be your child’s friend, while simultaneously wanting to help him pursue the healthy life he deserves. You may feel your efforts have run dry, asking yourself, “What can I do now? How can I help my drug addicted teen?”
Fortunately, there are ways that parents can help and support their child through a drug addiction. Follow these steps to get your son or daughter back on the right path to a drug-free life.
- Educate yourself. – Your first step to helping your son or daughter is learning exactly how addiction works, and how to go about offering your support. By understanding the characteristics of addiction, its complexity, impact, and the types of rehab for young adults and adolescents, you will be better prepared to address the situation at hand.
- Stop enabling the addiction. There is a major difference between helping and enabling. Enabling means that you continue to support a loved one’s addiction, despite your good intentions. It may come in the form of making excuses for your teen’s behavior, minimizing his drug-using habits, or simply through consistent financial support. Most enabling parents do not realize that are doing it, and this may be your case. Learning how to stop enabling is an important step to take at this time. This could be what is keeping you from truly helping your son reach beyond his addictive lifestyle.
- Openness, Honesty, and Forgiveness are the key components to establishing trust. In order to get a message across to (and absorbed by) a teen, it is crucial for parents to establish a sense of trust. This trust is exactly what will get your child to open up, and provide more details about his or her drug use. How can you do this exactly? The first step will be to relate to your teen. Perhaps tell him a story about a mistake you made in the past, and how it negatively impacted your life. Welcome your teen to do the same, to be open and honest about the facts he or she has been trying to hide. Your loved one most likely wants to tell you the truth, but is afraid of what you’re reaction may be. Your son or daughter may be most concerned about disappointing you. Let your child know that it is okay to confide, that you are willing to listen and that there will be no immediate repercussions. By doing so, you will be better able to discover what extent of help is needed, and further, establish enough trust where your child will expect you to do what is best.
- Seek professional help. The most significant way you can help someone battling addiction is to show them how and where treatment is available. The extent of help and type of treatment may vary depending on the substance(s) he or she is using.
- Join a family support group. Family is a vital part of a successful recovery. Your teen needs you to be there for him, as a solid entity, every step of the way. Joining a family support group can help you better understand the disease of addiction, and talk with other parents in the same position as you. Together, you can learn how to heal, how to grow, and how to help your drug addicted child.
Family support groups can also teach you how to better communicate with your addicted teen, whether he has entered a treatment facility yet or not. A lack of communication can in fact hinder your loved one’s recovery. When your son enters Turnbridge, you as a parent will always stay involved in his treatment and care. We work to educate families on drug addiction as well as drug rehab through our integrated family program, and welcome you to join us.
Read our blog for more advice on how to cope with your drug addicted son, or call Turnbridge today.