Parents are burdened by raising their children up to be respectable human beings, to guard them, keep them safe and protect them from the dangers of life. There is a huge responsibility that comes along with raising a child. When children begin to make poor choices, parents typically feel guilty and start to blame themselves. They tell themselves they were not good parents, or they have let their children down. Parents beat themselves up over the choices their children make. Although parents do make some mistakes in raising their children, ultimately, the decision to use drugs is ultimately his choice.
If you have a child who is addicted to drugs, here are some things to consider.
First ask yourself these questions: Are you an enabler? Yes, you love your kid, but do you give into things you should not because of their drug use? Do you do give in just so they or you will feel better about it? Are you allowing your daughter to continue bleeding your funds dry just because you feel guilty?
The first step to helping your child, is to understand you cannot fix this issue. This dilemma is something only your kid can fix. Many times parents like to try to fix problems for their children because it is what they have done since their children were little, but after our children grow up, they have to learn to solve problems on their own. If they have chosen to use drugs, then they are the only ones who can determine whether or not to stop using. If, as a parent, you are trying to fix your child’s drug abuse for your kid, you will only end up failing and frustrated.
Second, you must realize that addicts are liars. Even your child. It is hard to hear, but addicts do and say anything to get their drugs. It may not be conscious or intentional deceit, but their mind has become so addicted to the drug, they will do anything to obtain more of it. They are also dishonest to try to hide their addiction from you, their parent. They are ashamed of their drug use. They know you raised them differently, so they lie to hide it from you. It is best to put safety guards in place to protect yourself from your child’s lack of truth regarding his drug abuse. You can help them as much as you feel comfortable, but when you feel yourself become uneasy or questioning motives, it is time to reconsider why you are helping them. You can offer help and other services, but do not blame yourself if they choose not to follow through with your advice.
Next, remember addicts are criminals. Using drugs is illegal. There is a possibility your daughter may go to jail for her addiction. Many times parents can justify many reasons why their child should not go to jail or should not have legal trouble for their drug abuse, but if we, as parents, compare our child’s troubles with others, we are quick to persecute them and want them prosecuted, but not so willing to do so when it comes to our own child.
Furthermore, homelessness could potentially be a part of your child’s life. Sometimes the best thing we can do as parents is allow our child to suffer the consequences of the choices he has made in order for him to fully experience the effects that go along with those decisions. It is hard getting phone calls asking for help, longing to help so badly in your heart, but choosing to stand your ground and allow your child to fully experience the consequences of his decisions will aid him in the long run. Setting limits may be one of the hardest things you will ever have to do, but choosing to not enable your child will help him face the facts of his addiction. You must remind yourself and your child these choices were made by him and not you.
It is important to acknowledge that your child has hurt others in addition to you. Those people might not be as eager to forgive your child as you are willing. As parents, we love our children unconditionally, so we are inclined to forgive them over and over again, but many people do not love our child the same as we do. Therefore, they may not be as willing to forgive your child. Continue to love your child, but refrain from getting upset with others who are not in the same place as you.
Keep in mind this article is not to tell you to stop loving your child, to put down your parenting techniques or to give up on your child. It is simply meant to ask you to open your eyes and be prepared for the reality that stares you in the face every single day. It is so hard being a parent of someone who abuses drugs. Keep loving your child, but do not enable them so they continue using drugs. It is okay to set boundaries and hold your child accountable for her actions. These truths will allow you to be there for your child when she is ready to step out of her addiction as well.