There are few circumstances more difficult to navigate, as a parent, than when your child is struggling with an addiction. Finding out your child has an addiction can be just the first step on the very long and painful road towards recovery. But with a rising statistic of nearly two million teens between 12 and 17 struggling with an addiction, the problem has been brought to light. Unfortunately, statistics show that only 150,000 of these teens are actively seeking treatment, so the fact that your teen is on their way is a good sign. Included here are a few things to know when you first discover your child is an addict.
You Are an Enabler
Parents love their children. More than anything, you, as a parent, want to take away the struggle with addiction your child is facing. But no matter what you do, you cannot fight this battle for your child. Learning that you unwavering love and support might not be what your child needs is the first step in making life changes.
Often, the people your child needs for help can be found outside of the home. While no one loves your kid like you do, others may be better suited to paving the road to recovery. Other recovering addicts, police officers, pastors and counselors may be better at helping your teen during this time. This does not say anything bad about you as a parent, it simply acknowledges that the child needs alternative help.
Your Child Will Lie to You
As painful as it can be for parents of addicts to realize, their child on drugs is not the same person you know and love. Addicts act differently towards people they love and usually leave the carnage of broken relationships in their wake. They may say things to you to earn approval and ease your discomfort with the reality of their lives.
Recovery from drug addiction is a “one step forward, two steps back” kind of problem. Your child wants you to stop worrying about them and getting involved and will lie to you about their using habits. You will have to seek evidence that your child is not using in order to believe anything they say. Honest people are transformed by addiction into manipulative liars; even what began as the best kid.
Your Child is a Criminal
Many addicts do things their unaddicted selves would never imagine. While you may want to shield them from all of the consequences and blame it on the substances, the truth is, your child made their choice. Letting your kids face up to their missteps and appropriate consequences may be the only way to help them.