Do you have a child with a drug addiction? Have you often wondered “what did I do wrong?” Well, guess what, parents: your child’s drug addiction is not your fault. You have probably felt helpless as you watch your child’s life spiral out of control. You have been angry at their behavior, hurt from the constant lies, and hopeful that they will get better, only to have your hopes dashed. Few things in life are as difficult to deal with as being the parent of a drug addict. You just want them to get better, and you don’t know what to do. It feels as if you are lost in the woods.
Do not despair. It is very common for mothers or fathers to blame themselves for their child’s drug addiction. They feel guilty, as if they caused the addiction by doing something wrong while raising their child. There may still be help for your child’s drug addiction and you are also not to blame for it. It is the aim of this article to help you with your guilt and to provide some tips that you may find useful to deal with your drug addict child.
What can you do about a child drug addiction?
If you have a child with an addiction, first of all, stop blaming yourself. Even if you were the worst parent in the world, and chronically neglected your child, left him/her alone, beat them, and insulted them, you’re still not to blame for your kid’s drug addiction. It was ultimately their decision to start using drugs (or alcohol). No one forced anything down your child’s throat (or up their nose, into their arm, etc). Most likely, you were a fairly normal parent. Like most, you did everything you could to feed and clothe your son or daughter. Yet, they still ended up with an addiction. This is no more your fault than if they were to come down with appendicitis.
You may think you had a lot of control over their actions or choices, but in reality there was nothing you could have done to prevent it. Everyone gets to live their own life. We do not control the actions of another.
What if your drug addict child occasionally likes to remind you of the terrible things you did, or still do, to use as a tool against you? Maybe they tell you they use drugs because you were never around. Don’t allow yourself to be ensnared by guilt. Drug addicts are exceptional manipulators and they will play on any weakness they perceive to get what they want. They may be intentionally playing upon your emotions as a way to extort money.
Child Drug Addiction – Two, typical scenarios for teenage drug addicts:
Child drug addiction – Scenario One: you have a drug addict son living at home.
Your instinct is to shelter and protect him. You want to be able to monitor him, in the safety of your own roof. In this way, you hope to keep him out of legal trouble, or worse. Although well-intentioned, it may be best that you cease this kind of enabling. Your son may need to hit a sort of emotional bottom before he is willing to get help. If he still has a roof over his head, food to eat, and money to get drugs with, the odds that he will seek professional help are slim to none. He hasn’t had enough pain yet. By sheltering him, you are only enabling your son to continue using drugs. This all applies to a drug addict daughter, as well.
Child drug addiction – Scenario Two: your son or daughter doesn’t live with you, but you never hear from them. You never know what they are up to, and you constantly worry over their well-being. When using drugs, most addicts like to be left alone to do what they want. They don’t want authority influences telling them how to live. Often, parents will feel that it was something they said or did that caused their child to push out of your life (maybe you kicked them out of your house. If so good for you, it was a necessary step). In most cases, an addicted child is seeking relief through drugs. It is not the parent’s fault that they chose to use drugs over their family.
Child Drug Addiction – Overcoming Guilt and Seeking Help
Whatever the case with your child, whether the above scenarios apply, or if you are dealing with something entirely different, professional help may be the best bet, assuming your child is willing to get treatment. In some cases, parenting a drug addict may mean they end up in prison. In the worst case scenario, your son or daughter may not survive their drug addiction. This is sadly, far too common. The guilt associated with that type of loss can be overwhelming. If you have experienced this lose, you have my condolences. There is little that can be said to comfort you, other than you did everything you could.
Should this be the case, still try to let go of guilt: I have seen experts in the fields of alcoholism and drug addiction lose children to overdoses. There is no amount of education and programs available that can help a drug addict who is unwilling to be helped. Blaming yourself for your child’s drug addiction will only waste time that you could have put to good use.