Adolescents that come from families with addicted parents are far more likely to develop substance abuse problems or addictions, themselves. Everyone can agree that prevention is the best means of stopping substance abuse and addiction. However, it is not always easy to know who needs the most attention in this respect. Fortunately, there are a few things to look for so that you can spot kids who are at risk due to parents that are addicts.
One of the most obvious signs that a kid is at risk for addiction is their behaviors. These are easily observed and speak volumes about a child’s mental state and intentions.
There are a number of behaviors that indicate a tendency toward addiction. Some of these include:
- sneaking around and skipping school
- deteriorating personal hygiene
- withdrawing from family and hobbies
- getting into trouble
- not telling the truth
- hanging out with new friends, or inexplicably ending friendships
All of these behaviors may indicate that a child is at risk of becoming addicted. However, alone, they do not guarantee that a teen is following in an addicted parent’s footsteps. It is important to consider every possibility before jumping to conclusions that may only make matters worse.
In addition to behavioral signs, there are a number of emotional signs that kids are at risk of addiction. And, just like the behavioral signs, the emotional signs can lend a large amount of insight into the child’s chances of addiction. These emotional signs include:
- angry outbursts
- uncontrollable, and unwarranted crying
- rapid and violent mood swings
- low self-esteem
While it is true that many of these emotions can be attributed to hormonal changes or other mental health disturbances, they should not be taken lightly. Particularly if a teen has an addicted parent.
What to Do
If you have spotted these behavioral or emotional signs in a child you care about, you may be wondering what you can do about it. There are a number of resources available, from counseling and educational material to 12 step programs for family members of addicts. One of the most important things that you can do is talk to the child. Often times, having someone that they can talk to, openly and without judgment, allows them to open up and not only share what is going on with them, but make them receptive to advise or direction from you.