Parents generally do everything they can to spare their children pain, but what can a parent do when an adult child has developed a substance abuse disorder?
For adult children, drug recovery can be an extremely difficult subject to broach and some parents may find it difficult to break enabling behaviors.
However, it is essential for parents in these situations to address these issues honestly and set a firm foundation for their children’s recoveries.
Emotional Appeals Often Aren’t Enough
Parents may beg and plead with a child enduring substance abuse disorder to seek treatment, only to have their encouragement fall on deaf ears.
It can be tremendously difficult for a parent to even acknowledge a child’s substance abuse, let along confront him or her about it. Some parents may struggle to find the words while others let emotions drive their thoughts and may wind up doing more harm than good.
If encouragement fails they may resort to guilt-trips, but this will not work either. All guilt-tripping accomplishes is making the child feel worse about his or her situation.
Developing Realistic Goals
The parents of a grown child with a substance abuse disorder must work closely together to develop a drug recovery plan that they can support. Finding the right treatment program is just one step of this process; parents must also plan to have an intervention with their child and plan to address their own roles in the child’s behaviors.
Honest Self-Reflection: Parents’ Emotional Pain And Drug Addiction
Children will typically feel guilt at the sight of a parent’s emotional pleas to enter rehab, but these pleas may also fall on deaf ears if the child’s addiction has escalated to dangerous levels. Addiction can turn people into master manipulators; once addiction has firmly taken hold of an individual, he or she will start doing everything possible – consciously and unconsciously – to maintain the addiction.
Parents unfortunately often play roles in these cycles of addictive behaviors by enabling a child’s habit when they only want to help. Identifying and stopping enabling behaviors can be one of the most difficult aspects of a parent’s confrontation with a child’s substance abuse, but it is an essential part of recovery.
Stopping Patterns Of Enabling
Some parents will enable a child’s addiction without realizing it. Most enabling behaviors arise from good intentions; parents don’t like seeing their children suffer and will try to prevent that suffering if possible. Enabling can take many forms, including:
- Cleaning up after a child, such as doing laundry or washing dishes the child neglected due to his or her habits.
- Paying basic living expenses for an adult child because he or she spent too much money on drugs or alcohol.
- Allowing an adult child to remain in the family home and continue using drugs because the parent believes it’s “safer” than him or her doing it on the street. This may be technically true, but it does nothing to curb the addiction.
- Lying on behalf of a child or making excuses for him or her to cover up his or her addiction.
This is not a complete list. Enabling can occur in many situations and varies based on unique factors in a family, but it’s vital to recognize that any behaviors that allow an addiction to continue unchecked, even those made with the best intentions, are enabling behaviors that need to stop.
The Value Of Professional Interventions
Parent’s emotional pain usually isn’t enough to convince a child to enter addiction treatment. Substance abuse distorts perceptions and priorities and such emotional displays will only put the child on the defensive. Guilt won’t work either, so how can parents address addiction with a child in a constructive way?
Most recovery journeys begin with an intervention. During an intervention, the friends and family of a person with an addiction will come together to let their struggling loved one know how his or her habits have affected them and encourage him or her to enter rehab. This can be a difficult emotional experience for everyone involved, and professional assistance can be a tremendous asset to any family in this situation.
Instead of an unrehearsed, unguided intervention where tempers can flare and past grudges may resurface between family members, a professional intervention offers a more structured and constructive approach to convincing someone to enter rehab.
A professional interventionist will work closely with the family and friends of the person with the addiction to develop a meaningful and positive intervention experience with the highest chances of success.
How Can Reflections Rehab Help My Child?
Reflections Rehab is an addiction treatment center that focuses on outdoor activity and individualized care. We know there is no one-size-fits-all solution to addiction, and we take the time to get to know every patient on a comprehensive personal level to develop a treatment plan that works best for them.
Our professionally-guided intervention services can help a family plan and execute a positive and constructive intervention that convinces a struggling child to enter rehab and pursue a sober lifestyle.
We understand there are unique factors in any family that complicate addiction, which is why we take the time to get to know every patient and every family we assist on a personal level. Addressing substance abuse means uncovering the roots of an addiction, and these roots often reside among the family and friends of a person with a substance abuse disorder.
Emotional appeals are not enough. While it’s important for parents to be honest about their feelings with their children, they should not expect their emotional pleas alone to be enough to persuade their children to enter rehab. Confronting long-standing familial issues that have contributed to a child’s addiction can be extremely difficult, but this is a crucial part of the recovery process.
Reflections Rehab can help. We offer a full range of treatment services and therapies to people struggling with all types of addiction. If your loved one is struggling with a substance abuse problem, learn more about our intervention program, how it could help you, and the other services offered at Reflections Rehab.