Dealing with a child’s substance use can be likened to a seemingly never-ending roller coaster ride. Often, we find ourselves reflecting back – thinking, I was a good parent. I raised my child with good morals and values. How did this happen? The hurt you feel is not only understandable, but valid.
When we begin to understand our child’s substance use, we also begin to understand the underlying foundation for their substance use, and why it might be rewarding for them in some way — whether it be emotionally, physically, socially or maybe all the above. Understanding why your child is drawn to substances will help you empathize with them. Why do you want to be empathetic? It will help to understand that your child does not want to feel the pain they feel, nor does they want to cause you pain. Understanding this will help you take the substance use less personally, and will help you feel less angry and more connected.
Finally, here is a quote that may help you better understand your child’s point of view: “Remember that your child truly has a disease. They do not want to feel the hurt they feel or cause the hurt they put on others. You may already mourn what seems like their lost potential. And yet consider how they must feel as they mourn themselves.”
Want to connect with another parent who's been there?
Denise 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.