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How are Children Affected by Drug Use?

Parenting Tips for Treatment and Recovery

While seeking help for substance use disorder, parents may struggle with speaking to their children about their condition and the steps they’re taking to get better. There are also instances where previous drug use-related behaviors may have caused a rift between parents and children, causing tension even during healing times. There are ways that parents in treatment and recovery can attempt to find peace and harmony with their children, whether they are young or old.

How are Children Affected by Drug Use?

Children exposed to drug use in their family homes by their parents or other loved ones often have a different perspective than those who haven’t. Many children will often also experience other trauma related to their parent’s behavior caused by drug misuse and addiction. That’s why parents in treatment and recovery are encouraged to seek out counselors that can help them deal with these familial consequences while also ensuring that their children don’t follow in their footsteps because they are at a greater risk than others.

Advice for Parents:

  • Empathy can go a long way with children who have attachment issues due to parents or guardians struggling with addiction. Understanding their needs and how to provide for them emotionally and psychologically can help them heal.

  • Patience is essential for parents while in treatment and recovery, especially when dealing with their children. Patience helps avoid any additional stress that can bring about relapse triggers or old coping mechanisms that involved drug misuse.

  • Encouraging children to partake in positive and rewarding activities can help strengthen their bond with their parents, and everyone benefits from participating in wholesome hobbies that require teamwork.

  • Boundaries and rules can help create structure for children that may have lacked guidance from parents with substance use disorder in the past. Many kids enjoy following rules and being rewarded for good behavior when they’ve done what was asked.

  • Limiting or eliminating yelling and shouting in the household can help create a fresh, new, and safe atmosphere for parents and children to grow together positively.

  • Apologizing for previous indiscretions caused by drug misuse can be painful for parents, but for older children who have a grasp of the situation, these discussions are very important to have.

  • Spending quality time with children and creating wholesome daily activities like family dinners establishes a sense of togetherness and reassurance as both parents and children adjust.

  • Becoming a good role model is vital for parents who are worried that their kids exhibit problematic behaviors that may stem from trauma from their previous drug misuse. Professional therapy and counseling are also highly recommended.

Parents who decide to enroll in treatment for substance use disorder are often motivated to reach the recovery path so they can become better caretakers for their children. While this is an excellent motivator, it’s not always enough to ensure their progress. When parents take extra steps to reconnect with their children once they’ve begun the process to get help, it can strengthen their will to continue working towards a better future for the whole family.


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