How to Talk to Your Child about a Parent’s Addiction


For a child, understanding a parent’s addiction problem is incredibly difficult. The parent sometimes takes the incorrect approach by drawing a negative picture of the addicted parent into the child’s mind. Also, sometimes the parent who is not addicted to drugs or alcohol avoids talking about the other parent’s problem.

However, the child needs to know that the parent’s addiction is not his or her fault. The young ones need to be told that it is alright to voice the feelings that rush through them when they witness the parent’s alcohol or substance induced behavior. Also, no matter what, while being kept at a safe distance, the children should be told to love their parents despite a plethora of broken promises.

Telling the child that the parent is not a bad person is vital. The adult needs to tell the child that addiction is a disease which the child cannot cure. They should not be embarrassed about revealing their family’s big secret as many other children suffer from the same problems they do. Many children have a parent who is an alcoholic or a drug addict; some of those kids perhaps study with them in their schools.

The little one should also be told that they should care for themselves despite their parents’ behavior. The child should also be taught about making healthy choices in life. Living in a troubled home can cause a child to become reserved, depressed and withdrawn. If taken away from their homes, they can become violent too.

The timing of the conversation is vital. The best time to talk to the child is when matters at home are relatively calm. The parent should use age appropriate language to help the child understand the difficult matter. Also, the adult should do the necessary research so as to be in a position to answer the child’s queries. In the case that the adult does not know the answer, the answer can be found by researching together.

The child should be told that the parent is not the only one he or she can talk to. Another adult, a teacher, a school counselor or a support group are also amongst the options. Children often tend to idealize other families; the child needs to be told that other families have problems too. Two more significant aspects of the conversation are a hopeful message and an apology to the child for the parent’s behavior.

Author Bio: Lyndsi wrote this with Stanley Martinson. Lyndsi often writes about family issues and for rehab help you can learn more at iAddiction.

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