As a parent, your goal is to help your child through life’s ups and downs. You may remember how hard those early adult years were on you. You want to offer some help when your children need it, perhaps a bit of money to help them make their rent payment or help to watch their children so they can get a break. Yet, in some situations, parents actually end up hurting their adult children by providing too much help, especially when drugs or alcohol are involved.
Is helping them wrong? It may be harmful if it is fueling their ability to continue to use drugs and alcohol.
How Do You Parent Adult Children with Addiction?
There’s no perfect answer to distinguish between too much and too little help. The key point to remember is that letting your child face the consequences of their actions may be exactly the motivation they need to change their lives for the better. Here are some strategies that may help you.
Know the signs of drug addiction.
If you suspect your adult child is using drugs and alcohol, you may need to change the way you help them. To do that, you should know the signs of addiction, such as:
- They are using more of the substance than they used to. Increasing use may include using more often, using a larger amount, or using more potent products.
- They are hiding their use. They may disappear for long periods or just prefer to be alone rather than with family.
- Your child may no longer be engaging in activities they used to enjoy. Sudden changes in activities, interests, and relationships could be an indication of concern.
- There are periods of time when they are excessively moody, ill, or aggressive. These could be indications of going through withdrawal due to a lack of the substance.
- They are unable to maintain responsibilities at home, work, or school. They do not keep promises to family members or others.
If these behaviors are new to your child, they could be signs of addiction that indicate a need for treatment.
Set boundaries on how you will support them.
If you know your son or daughter is struggling with addiction and they will not get help, set clear boundaries for yourself and others. Tell them you will listen to what they have to say and guide them to getting care. At the same time, tell them you can no longer support them by giving them money, lying for them, or making excuses for them.
This creates a way for you to encourage them to get help. It forces them to face what’s occurring.
Give them access to the care they need.
Don’t just tell them to get help. Make it easy for them to get that help. If you know it is time for addiction treatment, reach out to a drug and alcohol treatment center. Discuss what is happening with the counselors there. They can help you by approving insurance coverage and ensuring that care is available to your loved one.
Then, provide that information to your loved one. Be sure they know exactly what they need to do to get into treatment. Be sure to offer them specific information on how you plan to help if they get care.
Don’t ignore what’s really happening.
The rent is due. They need money to cover it, so they don’t lose their home. They don’t have money to pay their car payment. They just need someone to help for a few minutes so they can run an errand.
Often, the simplest of situations are an indication of a much bigger problem. Parents may know what’s happening but ignore it because dealing with what is occurring is difficult or feels impossible. Sometimes parents have no idea what to do to help a child. The worst thing you can do is to ignore what’s occurring.
Ask the hard questions. Find out what’s really happening. Make it clear that things need to change. To do that, provide examples of how their behavior has impacted you or others close to them. Show them what’s really happening.
It’s Not About the Argument but the Action
It’s easy to be angry with your loved one for the mistakes they made to put them in this place. That anger is not likely to foster change. The best thing to do is to approach your child with compassion.
“I know you need help with drugs and alcohol. I want to help you get through this.”
A positive tone like this may encourage them to stop and listen. Let our team at The Ranch at Dove Tree in Lubbock, TX, guide you from that point, providing you with the resources to get your child help.