Help for Parents Who Are Enabling Addiction Tough Love vs Enabling

A parent is a more common scenario than most people realize. You want your children to be safe, but that feeling of safety can sometimes be precisely what prevents them from seeking help for their addiction. Doing something for your child that’s considered normal in most circumstances could be what is holding them back from getting real help. Covering up your child’s drug use, such as by lying to the police or their school.

enabling a drug addict child

Not all consequences are tolerated equally

  • The way in which the primary caretaker responds to these cues will establish the quality of the attachment.
  • As a parent, it is important to know that this is not deliberate nor is it your fault.
  • Acknowledge that your child has an addiction problem and realize that they — in addition to their environment — need to change.
  • There are strategies that friends and family may wish to pursue.4 For starters, individual counseling and family counseling can be beneficial.

His commitment to sharing stories of hope and resilience has established him as a credible and respected figure in the addiction treatment community. Enabling your drug addict son’s behavior has significant risks and negative consequences. By shielding him from the consequences of his addiction, you Top 5 Advantages of Staying in a Sober Living House unintentionally reinforce his destructive behaviors and hinder his motivation for change. Enabling also creates a financial dependency, strains relationships with others, and leads to emotional and physical exhaustion. Moreover, it inhibits his personal growth and resilience needed for recovery.

Neurotransmitter Imbalance: The Effect of Addiction on Brain Chemistry

enabling a drug addict child

It is difficult for children to focus on higher order thinking and learning when basic survival needs are not met. Similar to the home environment, communication between substance abusing parents and teachers and the larger school system is poor. Many parents struggling with an SUD had difficulty with the school system in their own school-age years and avoid interacting with it due to their own anxiety or shame. In reversal of dependence needs, the parent’s needs are placed before the child’s. This sets the child up for a potential lifetime of inability to set healthy boundaries in relationships and make the important triad connections between thoughts, feelings, and behaviors.

Enabling Behaviors

Avenues Recovery is a community-based drug and alcohol rehabilitation center with locations across the United States. This table has been adapted from Carter and McGoldrick’s (1989) model of the stages of the family life cycle. Modifications have been made to Column 2 to identify concepts relevant to the family with a SUD, and Columns 3 and 4 are contributions of the authors of this article. The consequences of forcing a child into rehab are listed below, however, it’s important to keep in mind that forcing them into rehab may also save their life. Love for a child, partner, sibling, or close friend is a powerful emotion, which is why enabling behavior is an easy trap to fall into, says Deena Manion, PsyD, LCSW, chief clinical officer at Westwind Recovery in Los Angeles. Another parent may worry that if her son has a felony record, he will not be able to get a worthwhile job.

enabling a drug addict child

These actions will significantly damage the relationship you have worked to build with them. You can combat this by working to strengthen and rebuild the relationship. If your child is one of the millions of people struggling with drug abuse, you may feel sad, confused, and unsure of where to look for help. Acknowledge that your child has an addiction problem and realize that they — in addition to their environment — need to change.

Enabling vs. Helping Your Son or Daughter With Addiction

People with addictions are not immoral or bad people because they engage in these behaviors, but it is important for the people close to them to understand that these behaviors are part of the addiction. Starting a conversation with a loved one about their addiction can be stressful, and it is important to approach it carefully. First, educate yourself about the biological and psychological elements of addiction and learn about the various available addiction treatment options.

At any moment, someone’s aggravating behavior or our own bad luck can set us off on an emotional spiral that threatens to derail our entire day. Here’s how we can face our triggers with less reactivity so that we can get on with our lives. As the room started to spin, Geno, to his own amazement said, “Only this one time,” but he knew his words had a hollow ring since he’d said this so many times before. So, with mixed emotions, Geno later went to his son’s apartment to “loan” him money to pay his rent.

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