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How Addiction Affects Children



For parents who are struggling with alcohol and drug addiction, you have already confronted one of the issues, which is admitting you have a problem.

However, you have to make sure you are entirely ready to get the help you require to fight the addiction, meaning letting your family know.

For most, telling their spouse isn’t the hard part, it is talking to their kids about the addiction. The main thing you want to remember is that you have to be honest with them.

You’ll be surprised to learn your kids are intuitive and are likely already aware of the issue.

So, talk to them, allow them to ask questions, and be as straightforward as possible, in order to ensure everyone’s on board with your treatment.

Before Your Discussion: Learn the Facts

You want to know as much as possible about your addiction as possible before you let your kids know what is happening.

So, utilise resources online, call rehab facilities, talk to specialists, and get the information, so that you know how to describe things to your family when the time comes to talk with them. The more informed you are, the easier it is going to be for you to talk about the addiction, and why you need help, with your family.

Honesty is Paramount

Again, regardless of their age, you shouldn’t try to beat around the bush with things. You don’t want to be soft-spoken, or try to hide things from them. Give them the facts. Let them know how and why you are struggling.

The more candid you are about things initially, the less there is for you to explain at a later time down the road. And, the easier it is going to be for everyone to be on the same page when you do begin your treatment.

Be Direct and Straightforward

Just as you want to be honest in your discussions with your kids and family, you also want to be as direct as possible about what is going on with them as well.

Give them the facts. Kids are intuitive, they understand, and they see (and listen to) more than you think they might.

So, it’s likely the case that they already know something is wrong, even if they don’t know the severity, or what exactly the addiction means for the family.

When you’re straightforward, it makes it easier on you to answer questions, and easier for them to feel comfortable if they do have anything they want to ask you about it.

What Should You Share?

Of course, there are some things that you need to assess before going in to talk to the kids. Some of these factors of consideration include

  • Your child’s age
  • How much of the addiction issue they already know about
  • What your spouse/family has shared with them
  • If they are aware of addiction/drug use/alcohol in the home
  • Whether or not your kids use drugs, or have seen it first-hand for some time

Every situation is going to differ a little, as it relates to how and what you are going to share with your kids when the time comes for you to talk about your addiction with them.

When you evaluate the facts, it makes it much easier on you to make a checklist of the things you are going to say, how to say them, and what you should know, in the event your kids do have any questions, so that you can properly answer the questions they present to you when you are talking to them.

Seek Out Help

Make sure you go into rehab as soon as possible and share this with your family. Let them know what is going to happen, how long you will be away, what you are going to be doing in rehab, and how it is going to help you become a bigger part of their lives, once you are back in it and drug/alcohol-free.

You need to choose a centre that will custom tailor a rehab programme for you, and one that is going to take your family situation into mind when they are devising the best rehab programme.

Ask Kids for Input

You want your family to be part of your road to recovery, so ask them for input. Find out if they have anything they want to learn about the rehab centre. Make sure they know you are going to be away for some time, in order for you to get clean.

Figure out the logistics, the best plan of approach, and how you are going to communicate with the family, for the time that you are going through the rehab process.

Just asking them how they feel and their opinions are going to make the process easier for the entire family.

Family Therapy May Help

In some cases, talking about things as a family, to an unbiased individual in a therapy format, is also helpful for those who are going through different phases of addiction. Each family member is going to react differently.

Some kids will take it better than others, and some might lash out.

Regardless of the reaction, when you talk about it, and get things out in the open, everyone is on the same page, and knows how the other members of the family feel, about what is taking place.

Admitting you need help is tough, and it’s just as tough, if not harder, to talk to your family, especially young kids, about addiction.

But, there are ways that you can do so, in a manner that’s easier for all, and is going to make it as seamless a transition as possible, when you are going to rehab.

Consider some of these simple approaches when the time comes for you to decide how to talk to your kids, what to say, and how to discuss what is going on in your life, as it relates to addiction and rehab you’re going to go through.

Need help?

Give us a call today on 0800 088 66 86 and let us help you in your journey to recovery. You may also contact us here via the online contact form.

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