Discovering that your son or daughter is addicted to drugs is quite a painful revelation to make. Emotions are certainly running high at that point and understandably so. In such a difficult and incredibly painful situation, however, cooler heads will prevail. Without the correct information, though, most parents panic and they make matters worse by fighting the effects.
Generally speaking, most parents read their child the riot act, explaining the negative consequences of drug use. I would encourage you to think about that from a rational perspective. The Surgeon General has been telling people for over 40 years that cigarette smoking is hazardous to health. Despite that warning, 36 million people still smoke. Similarly, drug prevention advocates have been telling kids that drugs are dangerous to health for over four decades as well. Today, the rate of addiction and overdose is spiraling out of control. Clearly, negative reinforcement is not the best approach for how to deal with a drug addicted child.
In most support groups, tough love is recommended as an effective means of dealing with an addicted child. Personally, I believe this is truly awful advice. It almost always ends tragically. Of course, a parent should prevent a child from taking them down with the ship. That doesn’t mean they should throw the child over board without a life preserver in the process. How can anyone call that love? I certainly don’t. Tough love does shield the parent from the destructive nature of addiction, but it also alienates the child further, escalates drug abuse, and increases the risk of incarceration or worse! Tough love is both counter-intuitive and counterproductive to addiction recovery. In my opinion, this is not how to deal with a drug addicted child.
Why Teens and Young Adults use Drugs
After 10 years of research, and 8 years, plus, working as an addiction recovery coach; I have concluded that addiction is a form of emotional escape. It is driven by anxiety, emotional distress and depression. Drug abuse is also usually underpinned by low self-esteem, inadequate personal power, and lack of personal identity. Many addiction specialists say that addicted teens and young adults have an emotional hole inside themselves, which they attempt to fill with drugs. I agree with that assessment. They are referring to personal identity or the lack thereof. The answer, however, is not to fill the hole with something else. Sadly, that is often what happens in treatment and the results are always temporary.
The solution is to close the emotional hole by helping your child establish his or her own personal identity or brand.
How to Deal with a Drug Addicted Child
Before you can help your son or daughter get off drugs and build a personal brand, you must change the relationship dynamics between you. Right now, I would venture to say, they are not good. You can change that by assuming responsibility for your part in your child’s drug abuse. Below is a brief outline of the 3 Steps in my free e-guide “The Addiction-Free Kid Blueprint, Revealed.”
1. Taking Responsibility
Assume personally responsibility for the family, relationship dynamics that have contributed to your son or daughter’s anxiety, emotional distress or depression and change them.
2. Setting Boundaries
Refrain from setting negative boundaries or issuing ultimatums. Instead, learn to set positive growth-oriented boundaries that will encourage your son or daughter to climb to higher ground and work towards success.
3. Coaching and Mentoring
Become the influencer-in-chief in your child’s life. Learn how to coach and mentor your child, establishing core values, guiding principles and grounded beliefs. Teach your son or daughter how to process emotion and take a stand to face challenges. This will bulletproof them against the guns of addiction.
For the exact, 3-step plan, download my free e-book “The Addiction-Free Kid Blueprint, Revealed.”
For additional reading, check out my other blog posts below: