Family Members Give Well-Meaning Advice But Are Not Always Helpful. How Do I Respond?

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.

One of the issues that family members so often face is unsolicited advice when their child is struggling with drugs or alcohol. While much of this advice is well meaning, family members may resort to more black and white thinking, and may not take into account your family’s unique situation.

Keeping this in mind, look for support from family members who you trust and feel will help you feel better. They may not agree with you in all aspects of the problem, but will be willing to be a positive support, because they care about the position you and your family are in.

Parents have found that by thinking ahead and coming up with a planned response can be helpful if they feel they may receive a comment from a family member that is not going to be helpful. Think through what makes the most sense to you and prepare a polite, brief response so that you feel ready in case you receive unsolicited advice.

You may find that with some family members it is best to limit your discussion about your child’s use, so that you don’t feel additional pain. Take time to surround yourself with people who have walked in your shoes and/or who can be empathetic and compassionate. Because isolation can make you feel worse over time, consider which family members or friends will be the best support for you during this stressful time. Make a plan to connect with someone at least once a week. Social support increases resilience, so do continue to reach out and get the support that you need.

Would you like to connect with one of our Specialists for one-on-one help and learn more about Parent Coaching? Email us to get started.

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