Dealing with people living in active addiction requires a lot of skill, some of which are contradictory. You have to be compassionate but firm. You have to be clear, assertive and calm when it is so easy to get emotional. You have to be gentle and strong. It is easy to want to “fix” the people you love when you see them making poor choices, especially when they are your kids. As parents, you do everything you can to protect your children, to teach them to make smart and healthy choices. When they are doing dangerous things, you want to step in and take control but we can’t. People living with addiction can’t be forced into recovery. You have to find a way to get them to choose recovery.
How to Talk with an Addicted Teen
Because addiction is so hard to understand under the best of circumstances, people often don’t know what to say and this can be frightening as well as frustrating. It is important to remember to approach the problem compassionately, but clearly. If you blame or demand or try to control, it is more likely to drive the teen further into their addictions. It sets up a cycle of shame and avoidance that lowers the chance of someone reaching out for help.
First, you need to educate your children. They need to know what drugs are out there and the dangers of using them. Because of brain development, they might not see a risky situation. To do this effectively, ensure you know what you are talking about. Do some research. Maybe you can talk to your doctor or a counselor who might be able to refer you to a specialist.
Many adolescents misunderstand or subtleties so you need to be calm and straightforward. Do not assume that they don’t know things. Allow them to share with you the knowledge they do have. Then fill in any blanks. When you acknowledge your kid’s intelligence, it builds trust with them so listen very carefully to what they say. Keeping the lines of communication open is more important than “teaching them a lesson.” If they are using, then you need to offer your support and love. Ask them what you can do to help. Maybe have some treatment options to discuss. When your teen feels safe and supported, they are much more likely to hear what you say and look more honestly at their use.
Because drug use and addiction are so dangerous, especially with teens, it is vital that you address it immediately and effectively. At Fort Worth Recovery, we have programs designed for adolescent women where everyone can feel valued and be heard. Call us today at 844.332.1807 or visit us online.