Talking to your children about addiction is never an easy conversation, especially when the dependence in question is your own. You’re already on the right track if you’re visiting this website because you’re taking the proper steps to get help.
But the important question still remains: how do you talk to your children about addiction?
If you have a young child, it is important to get on their level. Using technical words and phrases that they do not understand is counterproductive. You do not need to dumb down the conversation, but make it easy for your child to comprehend exactly what you are going through and how you are getting help by going to rehab or counselling. Explain that no matter what you are going through, you are still the caring parent they know and love.
When talking to your children about your addiction, pictures and videos can help a great deal. By showing your child pictures of recovery centres and watching videos of former addicts sharing their success stories, your loved one will get a better sense of what’s going on in your life and how you are trying to change it for the better.
Addiction isn’t caused by something your child did, and it is important that they understand that. Remind your child throughout the conversation that they are not at fault and you do not blame them for your addictive behaviours. They are not responsible for your actions and that facet needs to be make clear.
There’s nothing wrong with showing emotion when talking to your kids about addiction, but it’s best to tone it down. Remain as calm as possible to show your child that although you are battling addiction, you are trying to take control of the situation.
However, remaining calm does not mean that have to void yourself of emotion. We all cry when we’re upset and sad. You are no different and shedding a tear or two won’t make your child think any less of you.
While talking to your child about your addiction, tell them you love them. This is such a small gesture that sometimes people forget how important it is. These simple words remind your child that although you are having a hard time right now, you still care about them more than anything in the world.
When you enter rehab, you will have other things on your mind besides your children. You will be focused on getting clean and leaving your addiction behind. However, you can still remain an involved parent from afar.
Most centres allow for visitation and family involvement. Addiction Canada has online resources for family members of those who are struggling with addiction. If you’d prefer that your child not visit during your rehab stay, arrange telephone calls or emails so you can stay in touch. Always ensure that you know what’s going on in their life, and continue to show enthusiasm for their accomplishments and activities.Back