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How are Children Affected by Drug Use?

Handling your Child's Drug Use as a Parent in Recovery

People with substance use disorder who have successfully attended treatment and are striving towards long-lasting recovery face monumental challenges as they work to better their lives and repair relationships that were negatively affected by addiction. For those who are parents, this can be an incredibly emotional and trying mission as they face the impacts their drug use had on their children. These situations can be especially difficult for parents in recovery whose children may be currently misusing substances, placing them in stressful and potentially triggering circumstances that also set off protective parental instincts.

How are Children Affected by Drug Use?

Kids exposed to parental drug use are usually victims of early childhood trauma that has lasting effects on their ability to develop healthy coping mechanisms, among many other emotional and mental impediments. Research has also identified that children of parents with addiction may also have a genetic predisposition to substance misuse. With biological and environmental factors combined, these kids are at a significantly higher risk of following the same path to early drug experimentation that could potentially lead to substance use disorder compared to children who were not exposed to parental addiction. This correlation can be traced through recent rates of opiate addiction in teens, with many reporting exposures to parental substance misuse.

How to Help your Child

Someone who has experienced drug misuse and worked through their addictions and the underlying causes that led them to addiction will have a keen sense of awareness around people exhibiting signs of being under the influence of opioids. With the addition of a parent's intuition, parents in recovery will quickly recognize or discover if their child has been using drugs. While the sense of guilt a parent in this situation can be devastating, it is vital for parents to first focus on overcoming all initial stress and exposure triggers in order to prevent relapse. If a parent in this situation relapses, they will be unable to help and support their child to the best of their ability in efforts to steer them in the other direction.

Parents in recovery whose children may be misusing drugs are urged to seek out the help of a substance use counselor immediately to ensure their own health and wellbeing while also preparing a way to constructively tackle their child's drug use. Because children of parents with addiction face multiple layers of trauma, it's highly recommended that a parent seek out the help of a professional to mediate and arrange a solution for the parent and child.

Dealing with a child who is possibly misusing substances can be especially tricky for a parent currently in addiction recovery for a multitude of reasons. For both parent and offspring, the hurdles they will face in these instances can be too much to bear and face alone. Experienced and empathetic substance use counselors can provide vital, life-saving measures to protect both parent and child during these uniquely difficult circumstances in hopes of achieving a positive result for all parties involved.


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