Having a baby is an exciting event that many parents consider life-changing. As you are feeling the joy of having children, there is also a heavy responsibility that comes in caring for the child’s health and well-being. Every choice a parent makes can have a domino effect on the child’s future and wellness.
All parents have the best intentions to raise children who are successful, healthy, and happy. So, it can be disappointing to see your child slip into a pattern of negative behaviour as a result of addiction. Even though your adult child is no longer your legal responsibility, it can be a heavy burden for a mother to bear to know that your child is caught in the trap of addiction.
Parents sometimes act with poor response, such as lashing out in anger or threatening the child in an attempt to scare them out of the behaviour. But, it is important to understand that addiction is a disease, which means that your adult child needs support and treatment to overcome the problems. Even if the child isn’t open to treatment, there are a few things that you can do to cope with the situation:
- Distinguish Between Your Choices and Their Choices: Remember that your child’s decisions are not your choices. When the child participates in bad behaviour that affects the family, then it is important to let them know the consequences of their actions. These conscious decisions led to addiction, not just bad luck or genetics.
- Be Careful with Your Money: Every parent wants to know that their child is getting a good meal each day. But, if you suspect that the grocery money will go towards drugs, then be cautious in the way you provide support. Instead of handing over the cash, consider buying a bag of groceries or taking your child out to a restaurant. Handing out money can enable poor choices and fuel the addiction.
- Don’t Blame Yourself: You can offer support services and recommendations for recovery, but the child ultimately needs to decide when they are ready to participate in these options. It is common for parents to feel guilty if their children refuse addiction recovery. Remember that you can’t force them to take any particular action. So, don’t leave the blame on yourself if they refuse to attend a recovery program.
- Offer Unconditional Love: Anger and distance will break down the relationship, which reduces the likelihood that your child will come to you for assistance when they are ready to overcome the addiction. Love your child, while setting boundaries to ensure that you aren’t abused or taken advantage of in the situation. Hold the person accountable for their behaviour, while showing love regardless of the choices that are made.
- Protect Other Family Members: There’s no question that addictive behaviour has a ripple effect on the rest of the family. Whether your addicted child has siblings or children of their own, you need to be sure that you are proactive to love and protect others that might be impacted by the addictive behaviour.
As a parent, you might consider the option to seek professional services for yourself. Even if your child refuses immediate treatment, you can work with a counsellor to overcome your own worries and problems in the situation. In time, it is possible that your child will be willing to explore options for recovery from drugs and alcohol. So, you need to be sure that you are taking care of yourself so that you are ready to support the recovery process. Parental support can be an important part of helping your child regain a healthy, drug-free life again.