There’s no doubt that parent addiction takes a toll on children – the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that an average of 8.7 million children aged 17 or younger live in households in the United States with at least one parent who has a substance use disorder (SUD). Millions of children are also raised by nearby relatives and grandparents due to parental addiction. Children who have parents that struggle with substance abuse are at greater risk for emotional problems and addiction, are more likely to act out and take risks, and more. If you’re in recovery, navigating parenthood can be challenging. Here are several tips to help you rebuild that trust that was lost in the heat of addiction with your children:
- Do not avoid your children due to blame and fear. Feelings of guilt and shame may cause you to want to hide from confrontation, but this is not the answer. Being open, upfront, and honest with your children is the best way to regain trust and respect.
- Take responsibility over your addiction, and apologize to your kids. This may be hard to do, but it shows your children that you accept blame for the struggles they endured, and that you’re sincerely sorry about what they’ve gone through. Explain to them what you’ve learned about the damage addiction causes and what you’ve been doing to get back on track.
- Practice self-care daily. To be the best parent for your children, you need to be the best you. Out of guilt you may feel pressured to place their wants above everything else, but focusing on eating right, getting a good night’s sleep, and managing stress in an effective way can be great steps for your family to see.
- Emphasize that it’s not your children’s’ fault. The American Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress states that many children place blame on themselves for their parents’ substance abuse, especially if the parent has blamed them in the past. Some children may also withdraw, hoping not to do anything to cause their parent to use.
- Be patient with yourself. Rebuilding your relationship with your children is going to take some time, and you must have patience with yourself. In fact, causing too much stress and pressure on yourself could lead to relapse, so taking things a day at a time is critical.
New Vista Behavioral Health is home to several world-renowned, California state-licensed mental health and substance abuse recovery treatment programs. If you or your loved one is ready to begin treatment, call us today at 888-316-3665 for a consultation.