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What to Do When Children and Substance Abuse Problems Meet

teen substance abuse

You don’t want to believe it, but you’ve come to learn that your child has a substance abuse problem. Even though you do your best to remain positive and put your child on the path to a full recovery, you continue to wonder what went wrong.

Rather than hope that your child works things out on their own, you should step in as a parent to take action. Doing so will go a long way in getting them back on the right track.

Before we discuss what it means to take action, here’s a passage from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that will get you in the right frame of mind:

Parents play a critical role in their children’s lives. As their children grow to pre-teens and teens, parents worry about new risks they may experience. One such risk is the use of substances, such as alcohol, marijuana, tobacco, and other drugs. Parents can help by talking to their teen’s pediatrician about screening for substance use.

Now, with all that in mind, let’s take a look at the many actionable steps you can take to assist your child during this difficult time.

1. Ask Them What’s Wrong (Don’t Make Accusations)

This isn’t the time to accuse your child of anything. Even if you know that they’re abusing a particular substance, don’t make accusations.

An open conversation can go a long way in building trust and helping your child understand that you want to help them. It’s your hope that this approach gives them the comfort they need to confide in you.

It’s easy to get mad at your child during a time like this, but you’re better off avoiding this. 

2. Tell Them It’s Okay

This goes along with point #1 above. Don’t look down on your child for making a mistake. Don’t talk down to them and tell them how bad they messed up. They already know this

Tell them it’s okay, share your personal experiences, and give them the hope they need to get on the path to recovery.

This is the opposite of berating your child and pushing them further away from you. That approach isn’t good for either of you. 

3. Talk About the Plan Moving Forward

This is when things start to come together. Your child is in trouble but you know what it takes to help them regain control of their life.

Talk about the plan you want to implement moving forward. This will give you and your child peace of mind. And it’ll also give them confidence that their past mistakes won’t dictate what happens to them in the future.

Tip: don’t force anything upon your child. Instead, make suggestions and tell them why it’s best for them. If you push too hard, too soon, there’s a greater chance of them going against whatever you say. 

4. Seek out Addiction Treatment

When talking about the plan moving forward, a large focus should be on addiction treatment. In the event of alcohol and/or drug abuse, it’s best to seek the help of a professional team that is experienced in alcohol abuse therapy

There are addiction treatment centers located all over the world, with each one offering something unique to its residents. 

Compare as many facilities as you can find, collect the necessary information, and then make a final decision.

At first, you can expect your child to be nervous about partaking in addiction treatment. But once they get started, they’ll realize it’s the best place for them. 

Tip: Don’t assume that all addiction treatment centers are created equal. Your child has specific needs, so you should search for a facility that closely aligns with them. A bad experience can be just as bad as no time in treatment at all. 

Final Thoughts

When you take the steps above, you’ll have more control over the situation. And with that, you will also feel more confident in your ability to help your child get back on track.

With the right approach at home and the assistance of a trusted addiction treatment facility, your child has everything they need to overcome their substance abuse problem.