Addiction is a ruthless disease that tears apart people’s lives, relationships, and families. Over the past decade, addiction rates have risen to an extremely dangerous level within the United States, as well as around the world. For this reason, it’s important that we don’t shy away from addiction, as a topic, and work to make sure that everyone knows about the dangers of addiction, and understands how it affects loved ones who have become addiction.
When it comes to talking to children about addiction, this can be quite difficult, but it is an absolute necessity. Here are some tips on explaining addiction to your child if you or a loved one suffers from addiction…
Make sure your child doesn’t feel responsible
The first thing you need to do, in order to make this conversation have the right impact for the child, is explain that nothing about this situation is their fault. They didn’t cause the person they love to have addiction, and they can’t control the outcome of that person’s recovery; that is something that only they can do. It can be incredibly traumatic for a child to feel that they had a part to play in a loved one’s addiction, and it doesn’t help them understand what addiction actually is. Don’t feed into that narrative.
Emphasize that they can still love the addict
An important thing to remember about addiction is that it thrives on alienation. Addicts who believe that they have nowhere to go to, and that their family won’t accept them, are going to have a much harder time getting help and getting better. For this reason, don’t spread the myth about addiction as a personal failing to your child. Frame it as a serious health issue, which is what it is. Help them understand that they can still love the addict, even if they shouldn’t be responsible for any outcomes with addiction.
Help them understand the dangers of addiction, early
In order to fight the spread of addiction, we need to spread awareness about the dangers of substance abuse, and how addiction is able to start. To do this, make sure that your child understands how their loved one ended up on this path, even if you don’t need to involve every little detail.
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