Parenting is never an easy job. From your child’s terrible twos to their teenage angst, the challenges of raising kids never stops. However, nothing compares to the struggles of parenting a teenager who is suffering with addiction. It can be a huge shock to find out, and can make you feel like your lives are turning upside down. Many parents aren’t sure how to act or what to do next, which can make their parenting style suddenly seem confusing, unsuccessful, and ultimately can leave everyone feeling defeated.
Before it gets to that point, stop and take a deep breath and realise there is always a way to solve any problem. Navigate the storm with these helpful tips to make the process easier and help your teenager find the motivation they need to change their destructive behaviours.
Love them unconditionally
No matter what, your teenager will try and test you, and no matter what, you have to let them know you still love them. At times, it will certainly be hard to express it. You will all be feeling strong feelings, like anger, frustration, disappointment, stress, and helplessness. In times like these, though, is when they need your support the most.
As their parent, you have to put on a brave face and , even at the worst of times. Their self-worth will increase and they will trust you, knowing you still support them and will help them when they are at their worst. It shows they can rely on you and they still have someone looking out for their best interests, even when they themselves do not.
Stay calm and listen
Of course it’s natural to feel angry, hurt, or disappointed, but regardless, you need to do your best to and remain calm. Don’t raise your voice at them or act out by calling them names or using profanities. If you act like this, your child will too, and that situation won’t help anyone. In fact, it will certainly make it worse, because your teenager will most likely become defiant.
You also want to listen to what they’re telling you and make them feel like they’re being heard. Talking to them about their problems is necessary, but listening to them is essential. Ask open-ended questions so they can respond, validate their feelings and empathise, and be supportive.
Seek professional help
Asking a professional for help in this tough situation is one of the best steps you can take to help your teenager. You can do all you can, but a therapist, psychiatrist, and an addiction specialist can all offer relief to you, your partner, and your child. Checking your teen into a treatment centre like the Ignite can make a world of difference for their road to recovery.
Don’t forget to take care of yourself too
While your teenager is going through a hard time, it’s completely natural to feel as though you need to sacrifice your wants and needs and immerse yourself in their struggle to try and help them. You can only be there to guide them and offer support, and the best way to stay strong for them is to take care of yourself too. It isn’t selfish to continue on with your life, but rather, will help keep you mentally strong and healthy so you can be there for them.