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My Child Is in Treatment: Now What?

When a child enters addiction treatment, parents often feel lost and confused on how to act

When a child enters addiction treatment, parents often feel lost and confused on how to act, how to repair their own personal life, and how to adjust to their child’s absence. Many parents who are so involved in their addicted child’s life struggle with co-dependency and can have a difficult time allowing their child to receive and complete treatment. Learn how to repair your own life and give your child the space to heal.

How to Help Your Child Succeed in Treatment

Treatment, especially during the early stages, can be a difficult time for addicts. It could be their first time away from home or away from their family, the withdrawal symptoms may be severe, and not knowing anyone at the facility can make it a lonely experience.  This transition can also be difficult for parents to go through, even if it is in the best interest of their child.  Included in the following are some examples on how parents can give their children the necessary space to succeed in treatment:

Seek Treatment for Your Co-dependency

While your child was home, you might not have noticed just how much your life revolved around her needs and wants. Now that she is in treatment, you may come face to face with the fact that you do not know how to act, what to do, or where to go without your child.  Codependency occurs when an individual takes a passive, controlling, or even caretaking role in a relationship with another individual.  The codependent spends the majority of her time and effort in the relationship monitoring, controlling, and attempting to enhance the other’s feelings.  Your primary goal may have been to keep your child happy, and make life as easy and stress free as possible with the hope that you could reduce the need for her drug of choice.  There is no limit to what you would do for your loved one, and the more you do the more you crave validation.  However, your efforts typically backfire.  Being codependent is an unhealthy role to play and can cause issues in relationships, careers, and social life.  Seeking treatment to help identify the warning signs can help prevent any further issues with codependency.

Learn How to Enforce Healthy Boundaries

Make sure all those who reside in your home know what is expected of both themselves and your addicted loved one and what will occur if the boundaries are crossed. Ultimately, addiction has a tremendous impact on loved ones close to the addict and by setting boundaries, parents are able to keep all their children safe and in a healthy environment. These boundaries could be as simple as enforcing a curfew, not allowing any drug use and/or drug paraphernalia at the residence, and expecting, depending on age, the addict to maintain employment or contribute to the household in some way.  These boundaries are put in place so that everyone knows what to expect as well as the consequences that follow if one ignores or disregards the boundaries.  Start with setting a schedule for when both you can contact your child in treatment and when she is able to contact you, unless there is an emergency.  This can help re-establish the parent and child roles.  There are also alternative ways of communication such as email and letters that could be exchanged at random during treatment.

Repair Relationships

Because your child’s addiction took precedence over the relationships you had, even possibly including your own marriage, you may find yourself feeling isolated and alone once your child is in treatment. Reach out to your significant other and start to repair the relationships that mean the most to you.  Some may greet you with open arms while others may be hesitant. Sharing your story can help others see where you were coming from and help them understand the choices you made. Having a strong support network is important and can help one feel secure and more confident.

Drug Addiction Treatment

If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, please call our toll-free helpline today. Our highly trained and professional counselors are available 24 hours a day to answer your addiction questions and help you find the best treatment available. One call can save your life, so call us today!