Addicted Youth: Dealing With An Addicted Child

The best thing you can do to help an addicted child is to be supportive if they come to you for help.
You may have done your best to warn your children about the dangers of drugs and alcohol; however this does not necessarily mean that they will not fall victim to addiction, even as early as twelve years old or sometimes younger.

This can be a heartbreaking experience leaving you to wonder where you went wrong. Knowing that it is not it is not the parent’s fault that their child has become an addict is important to realize. They could have simply been hanging out with the wrong crowd, succumbing to peer pressure or adjusting to a new environment such as high school. Though, in some cases, there is some evidence pointing to addiction as being biological,  this still does not indicate the parent is at fault because genetics are something that cannot be changed.

Here is what to expect from an addicted child:

 • Be prepared to be lied to: Addiction distorts the truth. In an attempt to cover up their behaviors and drug or alcohol use, the child may lie their way out of situations in which they are being found guilty of. Know that, especially while under the influence, it may be a long time before they admit to their actions.

 • Trouble With the Law: It is not uncommon for a drug user or under age drinker to get caught up in trouble with the law. As a juvenile, the law may be lenient the first time; however, it is important to not enable the behavior by bailing them out. Allowing them to face consequences for their actions will help them to learn to make better decisions.

 • Changes in Daily Life: An addicted child may not want to participate in family activities anymore. They may even retreat to their rooms, completely isolating themselves from the family unit, or they may never be home at all. Other outside family members and family friends may not even want to be around them because seeing them torment themselves in addiction is too much to bear.

The best thing you can do to help an addicted child is to be supportive if they come to you for help. There are treatment programs available that are geared toward adolescents and have family nights that parents can participate in too. Also, there are 12-step meetings that will welcome young people who are struggling with addictions who are wanting help that they can be a part of after treatment. There are support groups created for the families of addicts such as Nar-Anon, Al-Anon, and Families Anonymous. In these groups, family members meet and discuss the troubles they are experiencing and how they cope so they feel like they are not alone.

It is important to not enable your young addict by setting healthy boundaries and creating consequences for their actions, and follow through with them. Attending support groups and family sessions at treatment facilities will teach you how to do this. Remember that your child is not a bad person because of their addictions, they have a disease, and there is help for them when they are ready.

Distributed by Client Initiatives

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City: Temecula
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