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    How Can I Let Go of My Need to “Fix” Things?

    Many parents are understandably anxious to “fix” their child as soon as possible when they discover that they are using drugs or alcohol. Unfortunately, there is no “quick fix” for substance use.

    There are, however, some alternative steps you can take that can help motivate your child to get back on track. First, understand what is behind your child’s choice to use substances. There are many risk factors for addiction, such as childhood trauma, environment, genetics and mental health issues that can play a role in why they chose to use substances. Other things like rebelliousness and the dynamics of your family can also play a role.

    Take time to fully understand why your child feels that substance use makes sense for them. Also realize that one size does not fit all. Your child has their own reasons for why they are turning to substance use.
    Get support for yourself. It is important to take care of yourself and seek your own support before doing the same for your child. This could come from a support group or a mental health professional. Find what feels right to you and what will help you the most.

    There are many things that parents can do to help their child change over the long term. One of the approaches that many parents have found helpful is the Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT approach.

    Being compassionate and positive and treating your child with kindness will raise the chances that they will be interested in learning more about recovery. Using positive communication skills, reinforcing the behavior you want to see, and allowing your child to feel the consequences of their negative behaviors are some of the key strategies that have been shown to work.

    While as parents we cannot “fix” things for our child, we can help them change. Parents often have more influence over their children than they realize. Using a few research-based approaches can help these changes happen sooner rather than later.

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    Want to connect with another parent who's been there?

    Cathy is one of our volunteer Parent Coaches. Like all of our coaches, she knows first-hand the challenges of helping a child with addiction. In addition to their own experiences, all parent coaches receive extensive and on-going training.

    Learn more about parent coaching

    Last Updated

    September 2023