The 5 Do’s and Don’ts for Parents of Addicted Adults


There are many types of addictions and most of them are things you do not even realize that are harmful for your health. However, when other people observe your behavior they can see what you are addicted to. And for people who love you it’s hard thing to see.

The bond between parents and children is probably the strongest one existing. No matter how old we are, these roles will always stay the same.

For that reason, when parents of addicts find out that their children have substance use problem, they might feel guilty and responsible and even question their parental abilities. Apart from the emotions, they have to deal with the fact that their hands are tight as their child is old enough to make decisions, including one regarding rehab treatments.

For parents, not being able to take action or fix problems when their adult children are struggling with addiction, is the most difficult to accept.

Many parents are not able to resist and they will try to help, but that could be extremely counterproductive.

When the child is in college, parents still have some control and they could and should support decisions on treatments and recovery.

However, even if a child is willing to cooperate, it’s better to consult the professionals or to call the local addiction recovery hotline: Addiction Resource, and ask for instructions on how and when to do it.

Parents should always have one thing on their mind: Yes, it was their job to raise children, but they are not responsible or able to control the ways children developed their capabilities or potentials, or how they take care of their health.

The following list of things parents should or shouldn’t do if they want to help their child to overcome the substance use problem will also show a few most common mistakes, characteristic for this situation.

5 Do’s for Parents of Addicted Adults:


1. Stop blaming themselves for things their adult children do, including substance abuse or use.

It’s hard to watch the struggle or to understand why it happened, but they have to accept the fact that it’s not their fault. If parents are blaming themselves, they are taking over the part of the responsibility for the addiction, which can only discourage the addict to face the facts, call any addiction help hotlineand seek help and treatments.

2. Communicate openly about addiction.

Communicate and discuss how this new situation is influencing and changing things for everybody. These conversations can be unpleasant in the beginning but after a while, the trust and the relationship will get stronger.

3. Understand the adult child’s perspective, as it’s equally important and essential for healthy communication.

Naturally, parents can be judgmental, especially about their children. To avoid preaching or confrontations, the focus of the conversation should be on the actions and the way they affect or resolve the situation, rather than how you, as a parent, feel about their unhealthy habit. The most important point, both sides should have enough time to talk but also to listen, as well.

4. Participate in the recovery process, but only if it’s not against their own health.

Family recovery treatments can help parents to start with their healing process, as well. There are family support groups where parents can meet people with similar problems and exchange experiences and knowledge. Parents should always keep in mind that this is one of those battles they are not allowed to fight for their child. However, cheering is more than welcome.

5. Offer support and help, but with boundaries.

If your child hesitates to call rehab facilities or drug helpline, of course, you should give them emotional support and encouragement. If possible, you could sit and research support groups and treatment programs together, to find the most suitable one. Also, ask your child what kind of help he or she needs. Children already know that their parents want them to be healthy and happy, but you should remind your child from time to time that they can count on you. The help you provide for them has to be in line with their recovery program and respectful to their space and time.

5 Don’ts for Parents of Addicted Adults:

1. Land the money uncontrollably.

If the parent is not able to control where the money goes than lending should be completely avoided. This could be extremely difficult to achieve, but very important to respect for two main reasons. If your child has lost its job and you accept to fund their expenses, they’ll be able to maintain their unhealthy behavior and completely lose interest to look for solutions to reach sobriety.

2. Over criticize a child’s addiction.

A constant critic is not helpful at all. Try to remember that addiction is a treatable chronic brain disease, “involving complex interaction among brain circuits, genetics, the environment, and an individual’s life experiences”. It affects both personality and behavior, so you can look at your child and not recognizing it. Prepare yourself to be constructive and resourceful rather than bitter and judgmental, because too much pressure could make them defensive, and push them to isolation.

3. Overprotect a child with addiction.

It can produce negative results and provoke your loved one to not look for an opportunity to start with recovery. If you create an atmosphere that nothing changed in their life or around it, you’ll give them a false impression that addiction does not affect them in any way and that they don’t need to seek help. Your help and support should be synchronized with the program and treatments, so try to avoid conflicts, frustration, pressure, and tension as much as possible.

4. Refuse to follow professional guidance.

In some cases, if professionals strongly advise you to do so, make a distance and let your child find the way to fight the addiction. Understanding that this is the right way can be frustrating for parents, but they should do it anyway.

5. Forget to take care of their health.

Finally, parents should also take good care of themselves, to avoid getting sick, anxious or depressed. It’s normal to feel concerned, scared for your child’s well being, and to experience all sorts of different emotions but there is no need to feel alone in this situation. Most communities have local drug addiction helpline, with professionals who are trained and educated to help addicts as well as their parents, with useful information, and advice.

What Else Can a Parent Do:

Educate About Addiction.

Every addiction has many layers. Most of the hardest addictions are physical but the hardest thing to remove from an addiction is the emotional factor beneath the addiction. And every addiction has an emotional factor. Every addiction starts because of an emotional factor, something the addict is trying to avoid facing within and escaping reality through their addiction habit.

Schedule Free Consultation Call.

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, or if you struggle with addiction yourself, you can schedule a free consultation call with us and we will tell you some powerful tricks how to overcome an addiction.

Keep Supporting Your Children.

The greatest thing you can do as a parent is to be their greatest support. It’s not about what’s right and what’s wrong. Your children need you on their side. So be there and without judgment. Nudge them gently toward betterment but before anything else, be their greatest emotional support.