Discovering that a problem with teen substance use exists in your family can be devastating for everyone involved. Here’s how to help your teen and cope as a family.
Teen substance use is a larger problem than many parents realize. We all want to think that addiction can’t touch the intimate circle of our family, but unfortunately, this mentality leaves families completely unprepared for helping their teen overcome a substance use issue and coping with the complexities of addiction as a family.
It’s estimated that there are over 2 million new users of illicit drugs every year and that over half of them are under the age of 18. Here’s what you need to know about helping your teen through an addiction problem and coping as a family. (1)
Parenting a Teen with an Addiction Problem
The process of parenting a teen with an addiction problem is overwhelming for most parents. You’re feeling a range of emotions that include fear for the health and long-term wellbeing of your teen, as well as dealing with the emotional aspect of watching your life take a turn that you probably didn’t see coming.
The teen years are a tumultuous time for many families. An adolescent who is searching inwardly to discover themselves will often react outwardly to the emotional and physical challenges of the teen years. While parents may be prepared for some of the uphill battles of adolescence, few know what to do when they discover their teen has developed a substance misuse disorder.
If there’s one thing that parents need to understand, it’s that they should always trust their instincts. It’s important to not brush this off as a phase or as normal teen angst. If you sense something is wrong, approach the problem immediately.
You might experience pushback from your teen, and this is completely normal. Compassion and empathy are crucial elements in helping your teen and dealing with how their substance use affects the family dynamics. Expect a range of emotions, from deep sadness and intense anger to hope. Also, realize that a substance use issue doesn’t only affect the person with the addiction problem, but that it also extends to other members of your family.
Strategies for Coping with Addiction Recovery as a Family
As the parent of a teen with an addiction problem, your main responsibility is to approach the situation with compassion and help them receive the treatment they need. While difficult, it’s important to not place blame or become angry at anyone in the family. The strategies you use for coping with addiction recovery as a family are important.
Here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Approach it as a family. The effects of an addiction problem reach everyone in your immediate family, and sometimes even further. It’s important to acknowledge everyone who is affected and get them on the same page. This means that if both parents are in the picture, they need to be working together as a team to help their teen, even if there is current disharmony in the relationship.
- Don’t place blame. It’s easy to place blame when an addiction problem has touched your family because it helps you feel more in control of finding a solution. The reality is that placing blame is counterproductive to treatment. Focus on helping and healing, not blame.
- Be your teen’s advocate. As the parent, the responsibility for getting your teen the treatment they need is on your shoulders. Research, ask questions and interview different treatment centers until you feel you’ve found one that’s aligned with what your teen needs in term of recovery and long-term aftercare.
- Don’t neglect self-care. Ad addiction problem can take a toll on a family. Make a point of doing things as a family that isn’t focused solely on recovery. Take a mini-vacation, spend time together as a family and commit to enjoying life together regardless of the challenges you’re facing.
Addiction Recovery for Teens in Boca Raton
Finding the best substance use treatment for your teen is one of the most important things you’ll do as a parent. Finding compassionate, experienced addiction recovery for teens is the first step on the road to healing teen substance use. With the right treatment, you can help your teen overcome the challenges of recovery and grow stronger as a family in the process.
Life of Purpose Treatment