The Importance of Parental Participation in Teen Addiction Treatment

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Calendar icon Last Updated: 09/14/2021

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Whether adult or teenager, the addiction treatment recovery process relies heavily upon the support and guidance of others. For teens, parental supports can make a tremendous difference, providing much needed direction while encouraging teens’ motivation to get well.

According to the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services, half of all 12-graders have abused one or more illicit drugs on at least one occasion. Considering the developmental stages that come with adolescence and the pressures this time of life brings, the need for parental support and participation in the recovery process cannot be overestimated. By understanding how addiction works and the role of the family in recovery, you can greatly increase your teen’s chances of a successful recovery process.

The Family Dynamic

Teen Addiction Treatment

Family therapy helps to improve the communication patterns of both the addict and the rest of the family.

More often than not, the family dynamic, in terms of communication and behavioral patterns between family members, plays an active role in the development of addiction problems, regardless of whether the addict is a teen or an adult, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. While teen addiction treatment programs go a long way towards addressing addiction’s damaging effects in your teen’s life, addressing destructive communication and behavioral patterns within the home environment is essential to your teen’s ongoing success in recovery. Ongoing family participation in the teen addiction treatment process not only shows your teen you care, but also works to reinforce the principles and practices he or she learns in treatment.

Family Participation in Teen Addiction Treatment

According to the U. S. National Library of Medicine, families can participate in the teen addiction treatment process in two ways: through family therapy and within the actual addiction treatment process. Within family therapy, the overall goal of treatment works to replace destructive communication patterns amongst family members with a more healthy and productive communication style. Rather than focus on the addict, family therapy treats the family as a unit or as the “patient.”

As part of the teen addiction treatment process, families gain an understanding of how addiction works and the way it plays out within the teen’s daily life. Families can also participate in support group meetings that specifically address the types of challenges loved ones face in the recovery process.

Relapse Risks

Addiction affects your teen’s thinking more than anything else, and considering how impressionable teenagers can be the risks of relapse can run especially high for young people in recovery. Relapse risks apply for adults and teens alike, with as many as half of all recovering adults relapsing within the first four years.

Triggers for relapse can take any number of forms depending on the mental associations the mind makes when engaging in drug use. In this respect, parents can have a powerful influence throughout the teen addiction treatment process by setting clear, enforceable boundaries and limits within a teen’s daily life.


While your teen may suffer the brunt of the negative consequences of addiction, family members likewise undergo their own emotional turmoil in response to addiction’s effects in the home. Taking an active role in the teen addiction treatment process not only supports your teen’s efforts, but also helps individual family members recover from addiction’s effects in their lives.