How to Discuss Family Addiction with Your Children

Having a parent who abuses substances makes it challenging for children to grow up because they are exposed to a very different kind of lifestyle from a young age. Furthermore, children frequently feel abandoned by their parents’ coldness and lack of availability, and the secrets of their family burden them throughout their lives. This is the reason it’s critical to keep lines of communication open and share updates with your children. Some suggestions for discussing family addiction with your children are provided below.

Act with integrity and candor

It’s critical to be honest while discussing familial addiction. Being truthful and honest is preferable since your kids will be able to tell when you’re lying. Avoid trying to hide the truth from your children; this is especially true if they are teenagers and are aware of the issues you are discussing. But use caution while deciding how much information to divulge to them. Depending on your children’s age and comprehension level, you may want to provide further details if they ask for them. To establish clear accountability for the existing state of affairs, it is crucial to have a conversation with your children about the events occurring in your home. If you choose to remain silent about what’s going on, your children may begin to place the blame for the events on themselves, which may cause issues with their sense of value and self-esteem as they get older. 

Consider the age of your children

Your child’s age will determine how you approach the subject of family addiction. Even adults find it difficult to completely understand the serious nature of addiction. In general, these kinds of topics are difficult to discuss, and talking about addiction with kids calls for a particular strategy. You must adapt your explanations of addiction and how it entered your family to the age of your children. This includes the terminology, vocabulary, and descriptions you employ. It is advisable to discuss addiction with younger children as a disease and the necessity of medication (rehab) to improve one’s condition. Regarding the older kids, the more detailed you can be about substance usage, the older they are, but make sure you don’t use confusing language. 

Assist them in realizing the good in their parents

Addicts, both alcohol and opiate, have been known to do things to kids that defy logic. Children may begin to believe that they are to blame if, for no apparent reason, their parents begin to yell at them or lose their temper. You must explain to kids that parents do occasionally become “ill.” Inform them that the reason for their strange or hostile behavior is a specific ailment or illness. In the event that the concerned parent has chosen to manage their alcohol withdrawal, there are several things you need to convey to your children in order to support the parent’s actions. Loss of appetite, shakiness, and vomiting are common withdrawal symptoms that can occasionally persist for a week or longer. It is advisable to continue with the narrative of a parent being ill or sick since hallucinations are another withdrawal symptom.

Keep them from feeling humiliated

Parents who abuse drugs or alcohol often experience feelings of remorse and humiliation. Long after they have conquered their “disease,” they continue to harbor intense feelings of shame and guilt for not being a better partner or parent to their children. That’s just a part of who they are now; what matters most is that they are at last making the decision to live a life that is full of joy and love rather than pain. Make sure your kids understand that they are not accountable for their parent’s behavior and stress the value of not taking anything personally. Assure them that they are not alone and that millions of kids have experienced substance abuse from parents just like them and have acquired coping mechanisms to avoid taking responsibility for their circumstances.

It might be challenging, but talking to your kids about family addiction is essential to maintaining positive relationships in the home. Use the advice provided above as a guide to help you approach and discuss this delicate subject in a suitable manner.

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