Speaking about addiction, especially your addiction, is always difficult. It is even more challenging when talking to a child. Not only do you want your children to maintain hope and happiness, but you don't want to burden them with something so complicated, no matter their age.
Addiction is an illness that affects every part of a family, especially children. When something so important is hidden or kept from them, it can lead to even more problems in the future. It’s important to not only tell your family and children but also address this issue by seeking treatment, such as residential treatment for drug and alcohol abuse.
Talking to your kids about addiction builds trust. Sharing both good and bad shows respect and honesty. Keeping addiction a secret harms both parent and child's mental health. Children may misunderstand addiction and blame themselves.
Children without the proper understanding may believe the social stigma around the addiction or even blame themselves for the situation. According to the National Institutes of Health, children of substance-abusing parents may have academic, emotional, and social problems and a higher risk of substance use disorders. Another pro to having open communication and as well as education on the matter is that it can help the parents with SUD to remain in recovery.
Parents who discuss addiction and recovery with their children have a better chance of success and positively influencing their children. Likewise, if children discuss addiction with their parents, they will likely feel more supported and nurtured, leading to better decision-making. Building trust through open communication leads to healthier parent-child relationships.
It can seem overwhelming to discuss addiction with your children. Whether you are struggling to come to terms with your addiction, going through detox, or are well into recovery, admitting all of this to your child can be challenging.
Firstly, don't explain addiction to your children in just one conversation. This should not be a lecture but an open discussion where you both talk. Your recovery is ongoing, so be sure that this is an ongoing conversation with your kids.
Five tips for discussing addiction with children:
Talking to children about addiction is tough but very important. Being honest with them helps them understand addiction and recovery without stigma. Honest communication can also lead to better decision-making in the future. Addiction is a family disease, and it will affect your children whether you talk to them or not. Being upfront with them inspires their trust in you and improves your bond.
As you work through your addiction and recovery, keep your children in the loop, and celebrate your wins together. California Care Detox & Treatment offers residential treatment for those struggling with drug and alcohol abuse. Customized treatment plans can be developed to satisfy individual needs and diagnoses. Inpatient rehab can include therapy, medication management, and holistic methods of treatment. Contact us today to learn more.