No parent sets out to make their child addicted to drugs. However, many parents do end up enabling a drug addict child without realizing. This involves engaging in actions and behaviors that may encourage your child to keep taking drugs rather than encouraging them to give up.
Many of us engage in these actions and behaviors because we want to protect our kids. However, in protecting them from other dangers, we end up pushing them towards drugs.
Examples of enabling a drug addict child?
There are a few classic ways in which parents end up becoming enablers. These include:
- Giving your kids money without checking what they’re spending it on: If you know they regularly use drugs, there is a high chance they could be spending it on these substances – even if they claim it’s for another purpose.
- Lying to other people to cover up your child’s drug problem: This could include ringing their school or workplace to call in sick for them because they are high, or making up excuses as to why they can’t attend a family gathering.
- Taking over responsibilities that if neglected pose no serious harm to anyone: It’s understandable that you may want to make sure your grandchild is safe if your child is too high to look after them, however, you shouldn’t be tidying up for them or giving them lifts to places in the car because they’re too high to do it themselves.
- Buying drugs for your kids: This should go without saying, but it’s still worth mentioning. Never buy drugs for your kids – not even a small amount to ‘take the edge off’.
How to stop being an enabler to your kid’s drug addiction
There are a few ways in which you can stop enabling a drug addict child.
Stop giving your kids money
Any money that you give your kids could be going to fuel their drug addiction. You should cut off any funding in order to send the message that you do not trust them and that they cannot use you for free handouts.
If your kid needs money for food or money for rent, you could consider buying them food or paying their landlord directly so that the money can only be spent for the specified purpose. However, you should be careful of paying for things for your child that they otherwise may be able to afford if they weren’t buying drugs – it may actually be better to let your child learn the financial consequences of their actions.
Stop lying for your kids
Lying to cover up your kids’ drug problems can prevent them from having to deal with the consequences. By not calling in sick to work for them, you force them to pay the penalty for not turning up to work – if they lose their job, it could be the wake-up call they need.
This goes as far as not lying to the police. Instead, let them deal with the legal implications, however harsh they may be.
Stop taking over responsibilities
It can be hard not to take over responsibilities from your children. You should weigh up how much harm is likely to be caused if your kids do not carry out these responsibilities. If your kids ask you to drive them to work because they are too high, put your foot down and say no. If they attempt to then get in a car themselves, intervene so that they do not harm themselves or anyone (this could include taking away their keys or even ringing the police).
If your children have pets or kids of their own and you are worried about their welfare, you should think carefully as to how to handle the situation. You do not want to keep offering to look after their kids so that they can get high. At the same time, you do not want them to neglect your grandkids. The best option may be to threaten to get social services involved so that they realize the gravity of what they’re doing.
Help your kids to quit
The best thing that you can do is to continuously take measures to help your kids to quit. This could involve throwing away any drugs you find, talking to them about getting treatment, and helping look into treatment with them.
There are many different forms of professional treatment that are worth looking into including full rehabilitation, partial hospitalization, intensive outpatient care, and outpatient care. Work together to find the right treatment program and offer motivation to help them follow their treatment plan.