Dealing With a Teen Who is Struggling With Addiction

Confronting and Helping Your Son or Daughter

As a parent, one of the worst things that you can hear is that your son or daughter is experimenting with substances of abuse. While the news can be heartwrenching, to say the least, being strong and showing ongoing support during this vulnerable time is crucial. Dealing with the news of an addicted child can be something that parents do not know how to properly approach. Without proper help, the child’s addiction will continue to devastate the entire family.

A common issue that many parents feel when it comes to confronting their teen about their substance abuse worrying that their child will hate them, resent them, or never speak to them again. It’s important to remember that no matter what your teen says, you are doing what is best for them and for the family by confronting them about their addiction or substance abuse problem.

Focus on Saving a Life

Too many parents worry about ‘hurting their child’s feelings’ when really hey should be focusing on saving their child’s life. Without a parents intervention, the teen is likely to continue to use. There are a number of different steps to take that can help parents direct their teens toward recovery.

  • Acknowledge that there is a problem: Coming to terms with the fact that your teen is struggling with a problem and not making any excuses for them is one of the first steps that have to be taken. When parents are in denial about their teen’s substance abuse, they are less likely to put treatment on the back burner, thinking that their child can control their struggles on their own. The sooner you acknowledge that there is a problem, the sooner they can get help.
  • Learning the right approach: Approaching the addiction in the right manner could be the difference between a successful interaction or a negative one. It’s advisable that you do not approach your teen about their substance abuse when they are high as they are not going to be in the right mental state. It’s important that parents do not make their child feel guilty about their problem as they are less likely to admit that they have an issue. Ensuring that they feel comfortable with speaking to you is the best way to ensure that they will feel comfortable in confiding with you.
  • Partake in self-care: Treatment is not only needed for the individual that is struggling, but it is also required for the parents. When parents partake in self-care, they are learning how to deal with the situation at hand. Addiction affects parents just as much as it affects their teen and they will need to learn coping skills and trigger management just as their teen will need to learn.

Lead by Example

It’s important that if you are trying to set a good example for your teen that you also refrain from using substances of abuse. This can mean giving up your weekly beer or wine as this can be a trigger for an individual who is recovering from substance abuse or addiction. Through leading by example, you are setting a model that can be followed by and one that you are proud to lead.


If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.

About the Author

is a proud alumni member of WhiteSands Treatment. After living a life of chaos, destruction and constant let downs, Mark was able to make a complete turnaround that sparked a new way of life. He is serious about his recovery along with helping others. At WhiteSands Treatment, we offer support to you in your homes or when you are out living in your daily lives.