Explaining Drug Addiction to a Child: A Guide for Parents

Talking to Your Kids About Your Addiction

Protecting children from the dangers they may encounter in life, including alcohol and drug addiction, is one of every parent’s priorities. Part of setting your child up for success involves talking to them about addiction’s harms, even if you are the one struggling. Through educating your children on the repercussions of drug and alcohol abuse, they can make better decisions if they’re ever tempted or feel pressured to try drugs or alcohol.

Admitting you have a substance abuse problem as a parent is probably one of the most challenging things you can acknowledge, especially when revealing this news to your kids. Helping them understand addiction as a disease, reassuring them that your addiction is not their fault, and letting them know that you’re seeking treatment will help them to feel better about this news.

If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.

Important Things Kids Need to Hear

Kids need to understand that their parents’ drug addiction is not their fault. Instead, the parent is struggling with a disease of the brain that requires comprehensive treatment to overcome.  Children need to know that effective treatment is available for the disease of addiction to help them feel safe and secure.  Since parents who are addicted often can’t provide the emotional support and care that children need, children of addicts often grow up not knowing how to deal with emotions. This can make them feel vulnerable, confused, insecure, and uncertain.

Speaking to your kids about the genetic and hereditary factors that play a part in addiction can help them better understand that they are at an increased risk of substance abuse by virtue of the family lineage. Talking to children openly about alcohol and drug addiction can help them better understand the issue instead of sweeping it under the rug and pretending it does not exist.

Some of the key messages that children and adolescents need to hear are:

  • Addiction is a disease of the brain that requires treatment to overcome
  • Effective treatment is available for the disease of addiction
  • The addiction is no fault of the child’s
  • You are not alone in this struggle
  • Speaking to someone about how you feel can help you better navigate and cope with the news
  • Communication is vital, and having conversations with loved ones can help you gain a deeper understanding of the struggle of addiction

When to Talk to Your Kids About Addiction

When it comes time to speak to your kids about addiction, it’s important that it takes place when the child is relaxed and in a comfortable environment. This will ensure they are not in a reactive mindset which will help when revealing the news that a loved one is struggling with an addiction. The information may come as a shock to the child, so you must be aware of the possible reactions that could come with the news.

Healing Families at WhiteSands

WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers family therapy and counseling. Through one-on-one sessions, those struggling with a family member who is addicted can learn how to cope with the situation better. Addiction is classified as a family disease, meaning it affects the individual struggling and the family. Through personalized family therapy programs, patients can learn how to improve communication while resolving family conflict and tension.

If you or someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, get in touch with the intake team at WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today. We offer a full continuum of treatment options that can help you and your loved one return to a happy, healthy, fulfilling life.

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

Jackie has been involved in the substance abuse and addiction treatment sector for over five years and this is something that she is truly eager about. She has a passion for writing and continuously works to create informative pieces that not only educate and inform the public about the disease of addiction but also provide solutions for those who struggle with drug and alcohol abuse.