Children are often caught in the crossfire of addiction unwittingly. When this occurs, an individual may choose to enter a rehab or treatment center to get help for addiction and seek help with recovery. There are some positive, encouraging things a person can do to support children while in recovery to help them cope.
A child may not understand all that is going on but usually know something is not quite right. By practicing openness and honesty, it helps children feel connected to the caregiver or parent without knowing all the details. Demonstrating care for children is important at this time by asking how they are doing and helping them open up. Children’s needs often get put on the back burner with addiction. It will take time, trust and faith to rebuild what was lost but is a very important step.
Lead by Example
Setting a good example is one of the most important things a parent or caregiver can do for a child. Exhibit healthy behaviors, make positive choices and lead a good, happy life to demonstrate for children what it looks like and model that behavior. Children need role models so engagement and positivity is important.
When things get tough at home, a child needs a social circle of friends to maintain stability. Provide opportunities for children to play with and, most of all, act like children. It is through play children learn positive social emotional skills necessary to grow into a thriving adult. Share play dates with other parents, all children to attend sleepovers and find ways to help the children have fun.
Programs exist for parents struggling with addiction which are designed to address it in a way children can open up and share thoughts or feelings. Providing a safe environment where other people express similar concerns may help the child feel more secure and understood.
It may be easy to assume a child can come away from a parent’s addiction unscathed but usually the opposite is true. A professional can check a child for maladaptive behaviors and troubleshoot what is going on. Children like to be strong for parents and not share what thoughts or feelings are being experienced. This can be done in tandem or by sending a child to see a therapist alone.
This may seem silly at first, but children need play to feel safe and secure. Dance, have fun and show the child a good time. Joy and happiness are okay, even in the midst of struggle. If a child thinks a parent is ok, they will feel safe to follow suit. Children absorb everything from the environment so do not assume a child is ok just because things seem to be going well.
Hired Power has tools and resources available to help families cope with recovery. If you and your children are in need of support, call us today at 800-910-9299.
We can come alongside to guide you through the process.