Welcome to Living Above
The Influence in Dane County WI.
If your child is one of the millions of children struggling with drug abuse, you may feel sad, confused, and unsure where to look for help.
A Tip for Parents of Those Struggling with Addiction
Strengthen the Relationship
Someone struggling with addiction will often use deceitful tactics to secure and use more of the substance, regardless of the negative outcomes for themselves or others. These actions will significantly damage the relationship you have worked to build with them. You can combat this by working to strengthen and rebuild the relationship.
A key way to accomplish this is through open and assertive communication. Good communication can help you catch problems early and react in appropriate ways. Assertive communication includes a balance of asking questions and actively listening to drive a productive conversation.
Examples of Open-Ended Questions
The National Institute on Drug Abuse has additional tips to improve communication with your addicted child. When communicating, try to:
Being overly emotional is not a part of assertive communication. If you find yourself too upset, sarcastic, or irrational to manage your emotions, consider leaving the situation with a plan to return to the subject at another time. It’s very important to return to the conversation within a reasonable period — ignoring the problem will not make it go away.
Create and Reinforce Consistent Guidelines
Establishing guidelines will set clear expectations for your child regarding acceptable and unacceptable behaviors. Clear, consistent rules are related to improved outcomes with addiction. Not only will guidelines help your child, they will help determine your reactions to situations as they present.
Guidelines work best when they are developed in collaboration with your child. This way, all parties have a say regarding the consequences of their behaviors before the behavior is completed.
The best guidelines will read like a list of cause and effect statements — if (action) occurs (response) will be the consequence. Since it is concretely established, there will be no surprises later. Of course, it will be impossible to cover every contingency, but by establishing guidelines for the most common events, you can reduce the odds of emotionally fueled reactions that have less-than-productive outcomes.
No matter how strong your guidelines, poor consistency will render them ineffective. If your child has been driving under the influence and you take their keys in some situations but not others, you are reducing the efficacy of your guidelines. This inconsistency will diminish the relationship with your child as their respect for you decreases.
Your child’s life is precious. Call 1-877-446-9087 to learn about treatment options.
All calls are confidential.
AND ONE MORE TIP:
Having strong guidelines and boundaries will aid in your ability to lower stress, but to achieve the desired results you must actively practice self-care.
Self-care is the act of making your needs a priority and is a valuable tool for parents of addicted children. As you attempt to care for your child’s needs during long periods of turmoil, your stress grows towards burnout. Increased stress can present as a number of physical and mental health conditions like:
Tips to Better Care for Yourself
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a list of ways to improve self-care that includes:
Caring for yourself will actually aid in your ability to care for your child, because if you are experiencing unwanted effects from stress, you will be less competent in decision-making, consistency, and encouragement. Practicing appropriate self-care also allows you to model desirable behaviors for your child. You can lead by example.
In some situations, you cannot maintain your own health if your child's actions continue without change. More restrictive boundaries and guidelines may be needed to improve your well-being, with terminating the relationship being an option to be considered in extreme circumstances.