As a parent, your first priority is to take the best care of your children as possible, to raise children into healthy adults and contributing, functional members of society. However, that care can take a wide variety of forms such as making sure your children are equipped with the life skills needed to take care of themselves and be successful, being their supporter through triumphs and hardships, being someone who will listen to them and give them advice when it’s needed. Parents always hope that as children grow up and become self-sufficient, they will remember that they always have two supporters who will love them unconditionally.
The relationship that a parent has with his or her child can become very complicated when the child suffers from the disease of addiction. Navigating a relationship with an addict, especially for a parent, can be a lot like walking through a minefield, not quite trusting each step you take yet feeling compelled to take them. Many parents make the unfortunate mistake of enabling a child’s addiction, even if that child is an adult. Oftentimes adult addicts will continue to see and use the parents as a resource that will help to sustain the addiction, and most parents will enable their child’s addiction despite being aware that a substance abuse disorder is present. As such, it’s clear that many parents with adult children who suffer from addiction are unsure of how to deal with the situation, whether they should enable or take some other route of action.
For those parents who have adult children who suffer from a substance abuse disorder, consider this information concerning how to deal with addicted adult children. If you know someone who is suffering from addiction, the caring specialists at Drug Treatment Center Finder can help you take the next step and help your loved one to begin their recovery.
Identifying Addiction in Your Adult Child
Parents tend to be very intuitive when it comes to those times when their children have problems they may not want to talk about or that might be difficult to admit. However, when it comes to adult children, it’s much more difficult to discern when your children are having problems and what those problems could be since adult children don’t usually live at home. It’s important for parents to continue being perceptive by being aware of some of the warning signs that your adult child is suffering from addiction.
When substance abuse turns into addiction, the addict will often begin have a marked increase in financial troubles. This might lead to adult children asking their parents to loan them money or to assist in paying for rent, bills, groceries, and other living expenses. As the addiction progresses and the adult child comes to depend on assistance from parents, the financial need will continue to increase as well with the adult child asking for money to pay for unexpected expenses such as car repairs or speeding tickets. While it’s fine to provide financial assistance to an adult child, judgement and caution should be exercised when the adult child begins to ask for money excessively and with increasing frequency, especially if this occurs along with other signs.
Addicts tend to be very flakey, unreliable people. As such, an adult child who suffers from addiction will tend to only be available when he or she needs something, often missing important family functions and gatherings. When the individual does attend a family function or makes an appearance at home, an adult child who suffers from addiction will often appear noticeably disheveled, perhaps distracted or nervous, uninterested, and might be moody or very unlike his or her usual self. Additionally, these individuals will often leave suddenly and unexpectedly, especially after receiving money that was asked for.
How to Deal with Adult Children Suffering from Addiction
It’s incredibly important to be aware that as a parent, there’s no cure-all solution that will rid an adult child of his or her addiction. What’s more, there’s no singular cause for addiction, but rather accumulation of contributors that have nothing to do with you, but which ultimately led your adult child to indulge in and eventually losing control of harmful behaviors.
With that in mind, perhaps the most important step in dealing with an adult child’s addiction is for the parents to seek help for themselves. There are a variety of support groups intended for the loved ones of addicts that are designed to provide guidance parents and other relatives during a very intense, difficult, and overwhelming experience. It’s been found that one of the most effective resources in most addiction-related situations is to learn from others who have experienced the same thing, and this is something that support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous and others can offer to parents of adult children who suffer from addiction.
Parents of adult child addicts should also remember that the child’s addiction is not their fault and not something that a parent can fix. Addiction is a disease in much the same way that diabetes is a disease, which means that it can’t be fixed with a band-aid or by punishing your child for bad behavior. Addiction requires professional help and treatment, and the only person who can decide for an addict to receive drug and alcohol treatment is the addict him or herself.
When dealing with a loved one who suffers from addiction, it’s crucial to adopt a firm, resolute stance on the issue. While it’s encouraged to love these individuals and to freely express that love, this cannot take the form of enabling the individual as enabling will only prolong the addiction as well as increase its severity. Enablers act out of love, but their actions only provide a buffer between the addict and the consequences of the addict’s behavior. Many addicts have to hit “rock bottom” before accepting their addictions and choosing to receive professional treatment, but preventing addicts from dealing with the consequences of their addiction prevents them from getting to the point of wanting to recover. As such, parents should refrain from providing financial assistance to individuals and from attempting to shelter them from the consequences of addiction.
More than half a million people die each year due to drug use. Your adult child or loved one doesn’t have to be another casualty of addiction. Call Drug Treatment Center Finder and let us match your loved one to the treatment program that’s right for him or her today.