I downloaded a guide from a site that provides awesome information regarding things parents can do when their child is addicted. I’ve included the guide at the bottom of this post because I do think that, while it’s short, provides great tips and strategies for parents.
From my perspective, the two (2) strongest tips the guide provides are:
- Be Supportive, but don’t Enable
- Detach with love
What does each mean? According to the guide, the two (2) questions we should ask ourselves as parents to check if we are enabling are:
- Is what i’m doing for my child something that she should be doing for him or herself?
- Am I helping my child reach and stay in long-term recovery?
I really agree that those two (2) questions provide a good way to test ourselves when we’re engaged in a struggle with our child’s addiction. Too often, parents’ blinding love for their kids clouds our senses of responsibility, which then may lead to acting in ways that we normally wouldn’t. I do recommend that the next time a parent is faced with any “helping” situation, that parent should ask those two questions.
The second, Detach with Love, is a bit more complicated (in my opinion) but just as significant and important. The three (3) things to keep in mind when detaching with love are:
- Understand that each person is responsible for him or herself
- We can’t solve problems that aren’t ours to solve
- Worrying doesn’t help
Each of these items is true, but they are very difficult to achieve. The fact remains, though, that loving someone, especially our children, doesn’t mean that we can “own” their lives. Once a child hits that magically arbitrary age, eighteen (18), the law sees them as autonomous beings who are legally accountable for their actions. However, if we don’t allow our kids to develop a sense of responsibility, then we aren’t helping to prepare them to be legally accountable. We can love, but we can’t live anyone else’s lives. We are only responsible, truly, for the person looking back at us in the mirror.
I think the guide is important and useful, even to those who don’t have kids, but know someone struggling with an addiction. I recommend the guide and the site from which it derives (www.Cathytaughinbaugh.com) and I do hope anyone reading this post both learns something from it and shares it with others whom it may help.