As a parent, you always have your child’s best interests at heart. Finding out that your child is struggling with addiction is heartbreaking regardless of their age.
You may feel it's not your place to say anything. After all, your child is grown up and can make his or her own decisions.
The truth is that your adult child needs to hear from you. They need to know you're aware of what's going on, that they are not alone, and that you want to help.
Here is some advice from professionals that can help you get that difficult first conversation about addiction started.
Tell him or her exactly what you are seeing and how it is affecting you.
Speak with your son or daughter about how their behavior is impacting everyone in the family. Talking about these topics can be uncomfortable at first, but this initial discussion will strengthen the relationship between you and your child, allowing both of you to start healing.
Be concerned, caring and non-judgmental. Keep in mind you are starting a two-way conversation with your adult child. Take a deep breath and let them have their say, without judgment or condemnation on your part.
Manage your expectations. This will likely be the first of many conversations you will have with your adult child about addiction. These are not easy conversations to have, and not all of them will go well.
Even if your adult child gets angry, remind him or her of your love and concern and reiterate your willingness to be there when he or she is ready.
When you are finished sharing your thoughts, remember to listen and try to understand your loved one’s perspective as well.
Remind your son or daughter that you have their best interests in mind and want them to live a long, fulfilling life. Asking them what you can do for them conveys that you respect their boundaries and what they have to say, making them more likely to share their feelings with you in the future.
It can be tempting to cover up for them or pretend that drugs and alcohol are not affecting them. However, doing so will only reinforce the idea in their minds that they do not need help and cause them to delay seeking treatment. If left unaddressed, addiction will take a toll on their physical and mental health, their finances, their relationships with others, and their sense of self.
While it is true that they made the initial choice to drink or use drugs, no one chooses to become addicted. Drugs and alcohol are powerful substances that hijack the brain and deeply impact personality and behavior. Know that your loved one’s addiction is most likely causing them to feel discouraged or trapped. Don’t blame or berate them. This could only exacerbate their sense of shame, their defensiveness, and their tendency to isolate.
As much as you may want to shield your child from their inner demons, they need to make their own informed decisions. However, as someone who has known and cared for them their entire lives, you can play a valuable role in encouraging them to be the best version of themselves.
If your son or daughter is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, we are here to help.
Reach out to Valor Recovery Center by calling 330-330-8777.