What do you do when you child is suspected of abusing alcohol? How do you approach your child if you think they’re using drugs? What do you say? How do you breach the subject without alienating your child and pushing them further into dependence? Addiction is complicated, but there is hope for you and your child.
By coming to this website you have already opened the right door that will lead you to help your child. You may not know for sure if your child is addicted to drugs, gambling or alcohol, but there are signs to look out for to give you a better understanding of what they are going through.
Look at your child. Are they the same kid you love, or have they changed physically? Addiction brings major changes to the body. Weight loss and red eyes are common symptoms of addiction, but did you know that so are bloody noses? Weight gain is also a sign of addiction, depending on the substance being abused.
There are also non-physical signs of addiction. If your once outgoing child now locks his/herself in their room for hours on end, they may be trying to hide the effects of substance abuse. If you notice that money is missing from your wallet or bank account, or if your child is constantly asking for money or working but has nothing to show for it, you may be dealing with addiction.
If you’re convinced that your child is addicted to drugs, alcohol or gambling, you need to understand a very important factor: None of this is your fault. There is nothing you said or did that drove them to embrace this lifestyle. They did not turn to drinking or drugs to escape something you said. They did not become addicted to gambling because you failed as a parent. Addiction plagues millions of people for different reasons, but poor parenting is not a cause.
The most important thing to remember when talking to your child is to show support. Do not yell. Do not scream. You do not have to tiptoe around the subject of addiction but show that you care and that whatever your child is going through, you are here to help.
The list below will give you an idea of how exactly to talk to your child about their addiction.
If you notice your child is exhibiting addiction behaviours, talk to them sooner rather than later. The longer you wait to talk to your child, the worse off they could be.
Discuss the underlying issues.
Addiction can stem from other issues such as stress, recent changes like a big move or divorce, trouble fitting in – whatever the case may be, get to the root of the problem.
Remind your child that you love them.
They may have changed, but they are still your child. Telling your child that no matter what they do, you still love them lets them know that you don’t blame them for their actions and want them to get help.