Discussing your child’s substance use disorder can be one of the toughest things for a parent to do. However, your reaction to your children’s substance use can be one of the most important factors in the success of their recovery. You can contribute to your child’s likelihood of success in recovery by saying the right things and taking the right actions to help him or her with their ongoing recovery.
Saying the Right Things
The first point to consider on your list of what to do if you child is using drugs is how you’re going to approach him or her. Beginning the conversation in an accusatory, angry, or punishing way will put your child on the defensive right away. He or she may clam up, close down, and be unwilling to discuss anything.
A more effective approach is outlined by the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, and it involves opening the conversation by asking questions around drug use without accusing your child. You might begin by asking if your child:
- Knows about the effects and hazards of drug use
- Knows other people who use drugs
- Has been around drugs at parties or gatherings
As your child becomes more comfortable talking openly with you, you can gently steer the conversation towards his or her substance use. Stress that you’re not asking so you can reprimand or punish, but rather so you can get the help he or she needs if substance use has become a regular part of life.
Taking the Right Actions
A single conversation about substance misuse is a great start, but it may not be enough to get your child started on the path to recovery. Subsequent conversations may be in order, with each one coming from a place of love and compassion, rather than anger or hurt, and always keeping your child’s health and best interests in mind. Continue to discuss the issue with your child as frequently as necessary, remembering each time you want a conversation, not a confrontation.
The overall aim of your conversations is to steer your child in the direction of recovery. Since children age 18 are over are legally adults, you cannot force your child into recovery. But you can illustrate your compassion in the hopes of influencing your child’s choices.
Finding the Best Treatment Center
Once your child admits he or she needs and wants help, you can take the right action by helping him or her find it. Getting help for substance use disorder while in college doesn’t have to interrupt your child’s academic career. As the first on-campus substance use treatment center, Life of Purpose offers both primary and intensive outpatient treatment for students struggling with substance use disorders.
Your child can continue his or her education while working on recovery. Life of Purpose helps students build a firm recovery foundation using an evidence-based, academically focused treatment plan. Students learn how to manage triggers, engage in sober relationships, and enjoy experiential therapies that can enhance their recovery as well as their overall lives.
Simply knowing what to do if your child is using drugs can take a huge burden off your shoulders. Using these strategies can help your child open up, show how much you care, and start your child on a path to ongoing recovery and success. Learn more or get help today: call 1.888.PURPOSE.