Addiction and Parenting: How to Rebuild the Relationship with Your Children
When a parent experiences an addiction, it can destroy the relationships they have in their lives but the relationships that a parent has with their children can be the most broken. Children look up to their parents for strength, guidance, and love, and an addiction can break the trust a parent has with their kids.
There are a few things a parent can do to rebuild their relationship with their kids after their recovery.
Make Time for Meetings
It is important that the parent get to his or her 12-step meetings and keep in contact with their sponsors in order to maintain their recovery. This may seem like a problem with the average adult’s busy schedule, but if their meetings are missed or avoided, it can be one fast way to relapse.
In order to fix a relationship with his or her children, it is important to show them how much he or she is trying to remain sober to show that they are being a good parent by keeping their promises and working to be the best that they can be.
Working on or Avoiding Relationships
If the parent is married, it will greatly benefit him or her to work on their marriage in order to have a healthy family. Whether it is through counseling or worked out on its own, children may see that their mom or dad are trying to fix what their addiction has broken and putting genuine effort in being better.
According to the NCBI, behavioral couple’s therapy is a good option for drug abusers and their partners to help rebuild and improve their relationship, which can lessen the need for substance abuse and temptation.
If the parent is not married, it is a good idea not to get involved in a new relationship. A new person in the parent’s life will lead to confusion by the child and it can hurt the recovery of the addict, as well as the relationship between the child and parent.
Focus on the Children
Having children is the biggest responsibility in a parent’s life and the best way to repair the relationship between parent and child is to spend quality time together. Show them that they matter and try to ease the stress in the family life.
After the addiction has consumed his or her life and torn him or her from their family, the kids need their parent to be strong and planning family time will help. According to the SAMHSA, family is essential to recovery and can become the prime supporters in their loved ones recovery, so spending time with them is the best way to achieve this.
Talk to Them
It can be hard to go back to the time when the addiction was most prevalent, but by explaining what is going on in the parent’s life, the child can see how hard the process is. Reassure them that the addict is getting the treatment they need to get better and if the child needs to seek counseling to help them through it, be supportive.
It will also help to ask for forgiveness if the parent has hurt or neglected their child. If forgiveness is given, it is a sign that of a healthy family and can be a big indicator that the relationships are strengthening.
For more advice on how to rebuild your relationship with your children, or for help finding addiction treatment, call 800-605-6597 Who Answers?.