For parents whose children – fully-grown or still young – are struggling with an addiction, it can be distressing, to say the least. Parents can have a difficult enough time relating to their son or daughter without the presence of drugs or alcohol, but substance abuse adds new dimensions to that difficulty. So, if you are one of these parents, how do you approach the subject and help to find addiction recovery programs for your child?
Good Communication Leads to Addiction Recovery Programs
“When your child is battling addiction, it can seem that it is impossible to speak to your child in such a way that she actually hears what you are saying.” This may be because they don’t – or can’t – acknowledge the situation, or because they simply don’t want you involved. No matter the situation, you have to be able to have some kind of open communication with your child in order to aid them in reaching addiction recovery programs down the road.
It may not be that your child doesn’t want to talk, though. Keeping an open mind and practicing active, thoughtful listening is crucial. If you just don’t want to hear when he or she has to say, or if you think that you already know what they’re thinking or feeling, then you aren’t doing your part to promote good communication. Even more than that, while you’re listening to them, you have to show it with your body language. Look at them, respond when prompted, and stay engaged. It’s easier than you think to tell if a person isn’t really listening to what you’re saying, and your child will be able to tell if your mind is elsewhere, or even if it’s jumped ahead in the conversation.
Similarly, how you are looking at your child matters. If you feel hurt, betrayed, etc. by their addiction, try to keep it from your eyes when engaging in conversation. Putting forth an air of love and support (even if it’s ‘tough love’) will make all the difference in the world. Conveying negative emotion, even if you don’t mean to, will likely put them on the defensive and make things that much more difficult.
Again, ensuring that you’re practicing “active listening” is another crucial step in this process. To reach your child, you have to show them with your body language that you’re willing to talk and to listen, that you’re physically there for them even if you don’t like what they’re telling you. “Active listening is about asking open-ended questions and responding to what a son or daughter is saying without jumping down their throat or sending nonverbal messages that suggest that you don’t care what they’re saying or that you simply don’t believe what they’re saying.” Again, it may not be anything you’re ready or pleased to hear, but sending messages that you’ve closed yourself off will be entirely counter-productive.
You may feel that some of the above could convey that you are “fine” with his or her choices, but that doesn’t have to be the case. Certainly, it would be wrong to nod, forgive, and forget. In order to aid them in finding addiction recovery programs and a healthier lifestyle going forward, you have to provide a solid foundation. This means avoiding behavior that enables, for example, and standing firm against the temptation to back off and forget all about it. Be strong for yourself and for your child, and together you can make a difference in his or her life.
To learn more about how you can find help for your child who is suffering from an addiction, contact The Bergand Group. We offer recovery programs for yourself or for others or are seeking education materials about addictions. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction treatment and recovery center and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues, including direction for those who may be denying an addiction. We can help you to work through your addiction in a safe and healthy environment where everyone is committed to your care.
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About The Bergand Group:
At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehab and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]