Families can suffer a significant impact when someone enters an addiction recovery program, especially if it’s an intensive inpatient treatment program. Children especially may find it difficult to understand why their parents or family members are going away and what their absence means. In order to give them peace of mind, consider the following tips for approaching the topic of addiction treatment and recovery.
Educating Your Children About Addiction Recovery
1. Acknowledge Your Actions
It may be helpful by starting with how addiction affects the brain, which also impacts your ability to be a responsible, active, and positive parent. Drop-offs and pick-ups at school late, arguments at home and other lapses in parenting can cause anger, fear, and resentment in children. Acknowledge the pain your behavior has caused, as it will help your teenager understand their feelings. Be sure to make a heartfelt apology and mention how rehab will help you become a more supportive presence in their lives.
2. Tell Them Not to Shoulder the Blame
As children are often not told what triggered their parents’ addictions, it’s natural for them to feel partially or fully responsible. Let your child know that they are not to blame. You should explain to children in this situation that they should not feel guilty or responsible for fixing the problem. Counseling may also be helpful and can help give kids the tools they need to understand addiction, recovery and how this can impact their future. If the topic is not addressed, it can lead to struggles with mental health, such as avoidant personality disorder, or even an increased risk of becoming addict themselves.
3. Be Honest
Although your child’s age should be considered when deciding how much detail to divulge, let them know what sparked your addictions and be honest. Deception may be revealed during subsequent discussions or family counseling, leading to issues with trust and honesty. Therapy is fundamental to the stages of addiction recovery. Let your child know it is okay to ask questions about your addiction recovery, so they feel like an active participant in the conversation. Be as open as you feel comfortable being when answering these questions.