As a parent, you want to do whatever you can to protect your child and help them have a great future. Even the best of intentions, however, can lead to enabling negative behaviors. What this means is that some of your own actions might be making it easier for your child to live with an addiction.
When we love someone, we can sometimes excuse or pardon their behavior more than we would for a stranger. Sometimes, we might even be in denial about negative behaviors or actions that are taking place. In fact, when it comes to addiction, it might be hard to see or accept that your teen is struggling. If the thought that your teen might be hiding an addiction has crept into the back of your mind, it’s important to address it and help them to seek assistance and support.
If you’re not sure about whether you’re enabling your teen’s addiction, consider asking yourself the following questions.
Am I ignoring bad behaviors?
It’s not uncommon for teens to act out. They’re dealing with stress, social conflicts and hormonal changes. Still, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t pay attention to these behaviors or let them slide. Sometimes, they can even be indicators of an addiction. Negative behaviors to look out for include skipping class, lying, stealing, complaints from teachers or sudden and drastic changes in relationships.
Am I ignoring potential stress or triggers in my child’s life?
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Sometimes teens turn towards substance abuse because they’re using it as a coping mechanism. In other words, they might have a significant stress, trauma or trigger in their life that they aren’t handling in a healthy way. Pay particular attention if your teen has experienced something significant in their life such as the death of a friend or family member, the end of a relationship, family stress, abuse or bullying. Regardless of whether or not your teen is using a substance, if they’ve experienced any of these upsetting incidents, help them seek support so that they can develop healthy coping mechanisms instead of harmful ones.
Am I ignoring family history?
If someone in your family struggles with alcohol or drug addiction, then this increases your child’s risk of struggling with it too. As a result, if you’re noticing any of the previously mentioned signs and there’s a history of addiction in your family, it’s likely that your teen is experiencing the same addiction issues.
Am I ignoring advice from family or loved ones?
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As previously mentioned, when we spend too much time around someone, we can sometimes become blind to their bad behaviors. Therefore, it’s important to pay attention to advice you hear from friends and family. If other family members or close friends have noticed a change in your child, it’s important to take this into consideration. Your child might be trying to hide behaviors around you or you might not be able to see these changes as easily. By accepting advice from those who care about you, you’ll be more able to get your teen the support they need.
What do I do?
If some of these responses ring true to you and your child really is in need of help, it’s important to help them get assistance from a mental health and addictions professional. Let them know that they’re not alone and that recovery is possible.
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