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How to Explain Addiction to A Child

How to Explain Addiction to A Child

Substance abuse is often described as a family disease because the whole family is affected by it.

When a parent is struggling with substance abuse, it can be a challenging time for everyone close to them, especially their children.

Tips for Explaining Addiction to A Child

You may not know how to explain drug addiction to a child but when a parent goes to rehab or is struggling with substance abuse, you need to be able to tell your child something. Our Treasure Coast drug rehab is sharing some tips on how to explain addiction to a child in a way that they can understand.

Keep Age in Mind

One of the most difficult parts of trying to explain drug addiction to a child is doing it in a way that is best for their age. Children have vastly different levels of understanding depending on their age. You want to keep it in terms that they will comprehend while not dumbing it down so much so that it loses its meaning.

Be Honest

No matter what age your child is, you should try to be as honest with them as you can. While addiction can be scary and complicated, you should not outright lie to them. Part of addiction recovery is honesty. With younger children you can omit more, but you should try to find a version of the truth that is age appropriate and won’t overwhelm them.

Don’t Scare Them

Although you want to be honest with your child, you also do not want to scare them in the process. If your child is younger, try not to use threatening language and focus on the positives that could come from their parent getting help. For example, if residential addiction treatment is involved, explain that Mommy or Daddy is going away to get better and become a better parent.

Remind Them It Is Not Their Fault

Like with divorce, many children will naturally blame themselves. It is important to reassure your children that this is not their fault, or they could carry an unnecessary burden of guilt around with them. Some child may even need several reminders.

Read Them A Book

There are actually several children’s books out there that explain addiction and substance abuse. These books can aid you in your discussion and help make this process easier. Be sure to do your research and find one that is age appropriate.

Educate Them

If they are older, now is a good time to educate them about addiction and substance abuse. Many teenagers especially may be curious about drugs and alcohol and vulnerable to misusing these substances. Addiction can also be genetic, so it is important to warn your children against substance abuse before they start falling down this dangerous path.

Listen to Them

You may be so concerned about how you are going to explain addiction to your child that you forget to let them speak. It is important to give them time to ask questions and talk about their feelings. You want to make sure that your child leaves the discussion feeling heard and with their questions answered. This two-way communication can now also help them feel more comfortable coming to you later on. If your child is struggling emotionally, get them outside support or help.

When a parent has an addiction, it can have a lasting impact on the children. If you find yourself having to explain addiction to a child, then at least you recognize that there is a problem. Instead of letting addiction continue to cause more damage, get help today at our Stuart detox center.

When you struggle with addiction yourself or someone you care about does, do not wait to do something about it.

Call us today at 888-280-4763 to see how we may be able to help you or your loved one. At Banyan Detox Stuart, we want to help you and your family.

Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa, Director of Digital Marketing
Alyssa is the National Director of Digital Marketing and is responsible for a multitude of integrated campaigns and events in the behavioral health and addictions field. All articles have been written by Alyssa and medically reviewed by our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Darrin Mangiacarne.
How to Explain Addiction to A Child
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