Addiction is tough on families. Many marriages don’t survive addiction. It can also destroy a parent’s relationship with their child.
That doesn’t need to be the case. It is difficult, but there are ways to talk about addiction with children. It is essential to the recovery process.
Everyone’s path to recovery is different. Here are some ways you can talk about addiction recovery with your children.
- Be Honest
Kids can tell when you’re lying.
You might think that you’re protecting them by lying about addiction.
Or you might think that it’s better not to tell them. That’s just lying by omission. It isn’t healthy, either.
Depending on your child’s age, they probably already know there’s a problem.
They might not understand what the problem is. That’s more stressful for children than knowing.
Be open about your problems with your child.
Make sure to do this in an age-appropriate manner. It’s not possible to talk to toddlers about addiction. But it is possible to talk about problems.
You don’t need to go into specifics. It is hard, but you can find a way to talk about the issues.
Children love their parents. They want to help.
Allow them to be part of the recovery process.
Don’t isolate them.
- Visit Your Loved One
It’s important that addicts don’t lose contact with their children.
In extreme situations, it might be necessary to limit or cut out contact.
When it is possible, visit your loved one during their treatment.
There are many facilities like this one where you or your loved one can recover. Some allow visitors. Others don’t.
If it’s important for you to have visitors during recovery, choose a facility that allows visits.
Visits aren’t going to be easy.
In some cases, they might not be the right option
Visiting a treatment facility can be tough on a child.
Thanks to modern technology, it’s possible to still stay in touch. See if you can make phone calls or video chats.
If you want to be really old-fashioned, try writing a letter.
For kids that are too young to read, write a letter for later.
Your kid might not appreciate the letter know. But they will once they’re grown up.
The most important thing is to communicate.
- Make Time
Time is one of the most important forms of love.
You will lose a lot of time with your children because of addiction.
Make up for it by treasuring every second that you have with them.
You might think that you’re doing your kid a favor by staying away. That will only create more problems. Children want to be close to their parents.
Do things that your child is interested in.
During recovery you will probably try and find new hobbies.
Find a family-friendly hobby that you can do with your kids. This will make your recovery all the more meaningful.
It will also improve your relationship with your kids.
- Family Therapy
Addicts usually have to go to therapy.
It’s not a bad idea to also go to family therapy.
Whether or not you realize it, addiction is hard on kids. They need to sort through what’s going on. Therapy is a safe way to do that.
There are many different forms of therapy suitable for children and families.
Types of therapy that are good for children are art therapy, play therapy, and musi therapy. This gives them a creative outlet. It also teaches them skills for later in life.
It’s good for children to become emotionally aware.
You’ll be surprised how aware your children already are.
You’ll also be surprised by how understanding they are.
- Answer Their Questions
Kids are curious.
They want to know everything. They will know when you’re hiding something.
This makes them feel disempowered. It might even make them feel stuipd.
Be honest when you answer your child’s questions.
It might seem like a lot to tell them. But there is no better policy than honesty.
If you start lying to your child or avoid, they will learn that lying is ok.
Set an example.
Talking with your kids about addiction might be the hardest thing you have to do as a parent. But it’s also the most important.