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We work with a special group of moms and dads – Parent Coaches – who, just like you, have been affected by a child’s substance use. They are volunteers who receive special training from the Partnership and our clinical partner in order to help other families through similar struggles. In these blog posts, they answer parents’ most frequent questions.
There is the saying, “You only as happy as your unhappiest child.” I wish that were not the case, because instead of feeling joy watching your child grow up, you are facing a negative situation as you watch your child live an unhealthy lifestyle. You will feel afraid, angry, resentful, embarrassed, frustrated, confused, guilty and more. These feelings are all understandable.
Watching a loved one struggle with substance use can be stressful for all family members involved, but especially for parents. One of the first steps is to acknowledge how you are feeling emotionally. Make the connection between your feelings, thoughts, and behaviors, and do what you can to manage your negative emotions. Realize that while many parents feel similar emotions, it does not help your child’s situation to let your anger and resentment overflow into your conversations with your daughter.
Consider what is motivating your daughter to use, so that you have a clear understanding about why drug or alcohol use makes sense for her. Consider the dynamics of your family and her unique situation.
It can help to consider how you are feeling before any important interactions with your daughter. Expressing negative emotions, such as yelling or being confrontational will not help you motivate your daughter to change. Take time to get yourself into an even-tempered frame of mind before having a conversation with your daughter.
If you are especially emotional, instead of engaging, step away and give yourself time to cool down. Find a way to regroup and try talking again at a better time when you are both feeling that you can manage your emotions.
Managing your emotions is crucial to keeping the important conversations you want to have on track and moving forward in a positive way.