As parents, our top priority is to keep our children safe. We carried them, we birthed them, and we raised them. It is our one goal in life to continue to keep them safe and watch them live a happy, healthy and fulfilling life.
However, sometimes there are things that can we cannot protect our children from. Despite our best efforts, they will ultimately make their own decisions and that is not within our control. One of these choices might be an addiction. And watching your child suffer with an addiction can be trying, upsetting and overall exhausting. You might feel as though you are alone and that it is your fault, or that nothing you do is helping them overcome this struggle in life.
But, you are not alone. There are plenty of others who have struggled with watching their child struggle through addiction. All addicts have parents out there somewhere, and many of them are feeling just like you.
While you might not be able to make decisions for your child, here is some advice to remember:
- Love your child.One of the best things you can continue to do is love your child. Be cautious and don’t become an enabler, but continue to love your child as you always have.
Be compassionate and listen to them. Rejoice with them in their victories – no matter how small they might be.
- Protect yourself and your family.While you should continue to love your child, remember that you and the rest of your family are still important. If this means you need to love your child from a distance, then so be it. Continue to love your child, but don’t neglect yourself and the rest of your family in the meantime.
- Offer to help them get the help they need.While you might want to continue to house them and/or give them money, that might only be enabling them. One of the best things you can do is to help them get the help they need.
Use your resources to help locate a viable recovery option for them. Support their decision to go to recovery and make it obvious that you do.
- Remind them that they are in control of their choices.Sometimes they just need to hear the cold, hard truth and from someone they trust. Remind them that it is their decisions that got them here and it is their decisions that could get them out.
At the end of the day, do the best you can and the rest will be up to them.