As a parent, you already understand how difficult it can be to talk to your child. It is even more difficult to talk to them about drug and alcohol use. Despite your discomfort, having the conversation about drug and alcohol addiction is extremely important, particularly if you think that your child is on drugs or alcohol.
Knowing the right time and way to talk to your child about their habit can be the key to getting them help without being invasive or threatening. Although talking does not always work, it will lay the groundwork for further treatment.
Having the Talk
There are a number of things to keep in mind while talking to your child about their substance use. These include:
- expressing your love and fear for them,
- not expressing anger, resentment, or disappointment,
- going into the conversation with an open mind,
- setting aside time to talk uninterrupted,
- honestly answering all of their questions and concerns,
- knowing the facts about the drugs they are using,
- not being demanding or overbearing, and
- having realistic and well researched suggestions for treatment.
If you base a conversation with your child, about addiction, on these principles, it is much more likely that they will take your suggestion and get the help that they need. Also, by understanding their situation, including their feelings on drug use, you will be in a better position to make suggestions.
Why You Need to Listen
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of the biggest regrets of parents, when it comes to talking about drug use and addiction, is not listening to what their child had to say. You should encourage your child to express a number of things that relate to their drug use, in order to better understand their situation. This includes:
- what scares them about their drug use,
- why they decided to turn to drugs,
- what they hope for in the future, and
- what they expect to happen because of their drug abuse.
Listening to your children as they express their feelings on these topics makes it much easier for you to understand their situation, and suggest the right kind of help for them. The more you listen, the more you will understand and the more your child will understand why getting help is the best thing to do.
It is extremely important to recognize that much of addiction is due to underlying mental illness. Getting help for the illness before an addiction develops, is crucial to stopping the addiction before it starts.