How to Protect a Child With Drug-Addicted Parents

drug-addicted parents

If you suspect your friend, relative or neighbor has a substance use problem, you likely have several reasons to feel concerned about their behavior. If children are in the picture, that’s even more reason to worry. A worsening addiction can cause parents to neglect their children’s needs, and a child who grows up with drug-addicted parents is more vulnerable to a host of emotional and psychological issues – including perpetuating the cycle of addiction. What can you do to help a child with drug-addicted parents?

1. Be a Caring Role Model

Children in households where drug abuse is the norm may not realize that not all adults deal with their problems by drinking and using. You can show them life doesn’t have to be that way by modeling healthy behavior. Addicted parents may spend more time with their substance of use than they do with their child, which can make the child feel lonely and unwanted. When you get an opportunity to look after them, show them you value their opinion by asking them what they want to do. You could also offer to teach them a new skill they can be proud of. 

2. Let Kids Be Kids

Children with drug-addicted parents have a heavy burden to carry, which forces them to accept household responsibilities they might not be physically or emotionally ready to do yet. Often, these situations involve a role reversal, where the child takes on many of the household caretaking responsibilities, instead of having their parents look after them. 

Anytime these kids get the opportunity to behave age-appropriately, it can be freeing. Play upbeat music and have a stress-relieving living room dance party. Watch a kid-friendly comedy with them, then go out for ice cream afterward. 

3. Help Them Deal With Complicated Emotions

Growing up can be confusing enough, especially for kids who are learning to navigate life without reliable, meaningful parental guidance. Children may be reluctant to talk about their problems because of their strong desire to protect their parents and keep the poisonous secret at their family’s heart. 

You can serve as their emotional outlet and gain their trust by gently asking questions such as “How do you feel?” Be sure not to pry or say anything the child might interpret as being overly harsh or judgmental about their parents. Instead, reinforce the message that the child can always come to you with any questions or concerns, and that you will take them seriously. 

Extended Care for Women

Women with children face social stigma that may make them reluctant to admit they need help for a substance abuse problem. They may also worry about who will look after their kids while they are focusing on their recovery. 

That’s where the work you’ve done to protect a child with drug-addicted parents can come into play. For example, you can offer to help your loved one with child care responsibilities while they pursue options such as outpatient treatment at Canyon Crossing. To learn more about women’s-only drug and alcohol rehab, please reach out to us today. 

Benefits of Residential AddictionTreatment

You cannot heal in the same environment that made you sick. This is the philosophy behind our residential addiction treatment program. At Canyon Crossing, women learn to live life on life’s terms while staying in a safe, substance-free setting. This gives our clients the space and peace needed for lasting recovery.
Our residential program combines high-accountability sober living arrangements with first-rate clinical care. While staying in our homes, clients participate in process groups, one-on-one counseling sessions, and hands-on learning opportunities. They also receive ongoing training; in these meetings, life skills like financial management and conflict resolution are imparted. All of this happens with 24/7 encouragement, guidance, and supervision from our clinical team.
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