No parents ever want to come to the realization that their child is abusing drugs or alcohol. Substance abuse, however, is an issue that continues to plague Canada, with high accessibility and a wide range of substances just waiting for their next victim.
Every family is different, and every parent and child will be dealing with their own unique set of problems to overcome. No matter how parents handle this kind of situation, it is always tough to see a child struggle with substance abuse.
The following are 4 things parents with substance-abusing children should know, which may help to make the situation more manageable.
Parents Are Not to Blame
It is so easy for parents to blame themselves when they see their child struggling with substance abuse. Meny parents may wonder, ‘Where did I go wrong?’, ‘Did I not love them enough?’, ‘Are they trying to punish me?’
There will be a lot of questions, and many parents will assume that it is their fault that their child has turned to alcohol or drugs. However, what parents with substance-abusing children should know is there are many things that can cause children to turn to substance abuse.
Factors such as peer pressure, boredom and stress are all causes of alcohol and drug use. The best thing parents can do instead of blame themselves, is to be available for their child to talk to. Open lines of communication may help the child feel more capable of confiding in their parents and getting the help they need.
Spousal Relationships are Important
Sometimes parents are so wrapped up in their child’s issues that they forget about one another. For a family with a substance-abusing family member, it is critical to stay strong as a unit and to take care of one another amidst all of the trouble.
Spouses who still put an importance on their relationship are much more likely to stand as a unit during this time, and may be able to help one another to remain positive.
Boundaries are Key
Boundaries are important for parents with substance-abusing children, because they maintain consistency and keep up expectations. Boundaries include the things that you will and won’t do for your children, and they should be written down and shared with your child.
Boundaries might include if you’re willing to lie for your child, how much substance use you’ll accept (if any) and how you expect to be treated by your child.
Boundaries will help you to avoid enabling your child, and will give them a sense of agreed consistency that may help them to feel more relaxed and in-control of themselves.
Self-Care is Critical
One of the most important things parents with substance-abusing children should know, is that a parent’s own self-care and maintenance is critical. Regardless of a child’s situation, parents should always put value on their own personal health, so that they can be at their best for themselves and their family.
Lacking self-care can lead to all kinds of additional issues to deal with including anxiety, depression, reduced immune system, obesity and more. If you are struggling to put some focus on your own health, do not be afraid to ask for help and seek your own necessary treatment.
There is no right way to deal with a child who is abusing drugs or alcohol; each family will apply tactics that work best for them. However, parents should always remember to value themselves and their own personal relationships.
A parent who is aware of their own health and needs is much more capable of being positive and present in their child’s recovery.