Watching your child, no matter their age, battle addiction challenges can be a heartbreaking, frustrating, and overwhelming experience. But research continues to show that family members can help their loved ones achieve and maintain sobriety.
Parents have an especially vital role in the recovery process. Now perhaps more than ever, your child needs to see and feel your unconditional love and support. Helping your child — especially if they are an adult — in a professional treatment program is a great first step, but you should also be actively engaged in the recovery process. Actively participating in the addiction treatment process and attending family therapy can help your adult child change their life for the better and help rebuild your family.
The Importance of Parental Support
Even though you may feel completely overwhelmed by your child’s substance abuse, try to stay encouraged. You have helped your child overcome difficulties throughout their life and you can help them overcome this challenge as well. You don’t need to enable your adult child’s behavior or pity them, but you can be a healthy role model for them, encourage them to continue pursuing positive change, and support their recovery process. Even though helping your child enroll in a professional rehab program is the right thing to do, isolating yourself from your child for a long period of time may make them feel rejected, cut off from the family, and disregarded. Luckily, supporting your child’s recovery can help combat those feelings.
By supporting your adult child throughout their recovery, you can:
- Give them a sense of security
- Have honest conversations with them
- Make them feel loved, valued, and accepted
- Boost their self-esteem and self worth
- Motivate your adult child to stay in a recovery
The Role of Parents In a Child’s Recovery
But these aren’t the only reasons you should be involved in the addiction recovery process. As much as your adult child needs your support, they also need you to help them work through adverse childhood experiences, model positive change as an adult and monitor their mental health.
Help Your Adult Child Work Through Adverse Childhood Experiences
You may or may not be aware of everything your child experienced when they were growing up, but research shows that experiencing traumatic events can lead to substance use and addiction. Unfortunately, 25 percent of American children and adolescents experience some form of trauma before they turn 16 years old, which can greatly increase their risk of addiction. Common adverse childhood experiences (ACEs) include:
- Incarcerated relatives
- Physical or emotional neglect
- Physical, emotional, or sexual abuse
- Living with individuals that battle mental illness and/or addiction
All of these experiences could have contributed to your child’s substance abuse as an adult. Luckily, you can help them work through these traumatic experiences and overcome them by participating in family therapy sessions provided by your adult child’s rehab center.
Here, at Genesis Recovery, our family therapy program can help your entire family work through underlying causes of addiction. In our sessions, both you and your child will have a chance to unpack their addiction and share how their substance abuse has impacted your relationship. Our trained therapists will help your family make sense of the situation in a healthy way. Family therapy can also help:
- Build healthy communication skills
- Set healthy boundaries
- Rebuild trust
Help Your Child Develop Healthier Behavior Patterns
You can also motivate your adult child to continue to make healthy, positive changes. In addition to detoxing the body and working through the root causes of addiction, professional treatment programs help recovering addicted individuals develop healthier behavior patterns. You can model and supplement these positive changes by:
- Attending peer support groups with your adult child
- Practicing open and honest communication
- Attending family therapy sessions
- Developing healthy relaxation techniques
- Learning emotional regulation skills
- Participating in group therapy sessions
- Learning and encouraging new, healthier hobbies for your child
- Developing and encouraging healthy coping strategies
Learn How to Monitor Your Adult Child’s Mental Health
High-stress levels, overwhelming emotions, and negative thoughts can trigger cravings and lead to relapse. Even though your adult child will learn how to monitor their mental health and avoid relapse on their own through treatment, you can help monitor their stress levels by actively participating in relapse prevention classes, family therapy, and local peer support meetings. You can also research and learn about different stress reduction techniques that can help your adult child regulate their emotions when they face difficult and challenging situations.
Common stress reduction practices include:
- Guided imagery
- Meditation and mindfulness
- Progressive muscle relaxation
- Listening to soothing music
- Gratitude journaling
- Deep breathing
After your child completes treatment, you want to do everything you can to help them continue to live a substance-free life. That means you’ll need to know what to do when their stress levels are high and their mental health is waning. Staying involved in the addiction recovery process can help you do that.
Learn To Recognize the Signs of Relapse
Participating in the addiction recovery process alongside your adult child can also teach you to recognize the signs and indications of relapse. Approximately 40 to 60 percent of recovering addicted individuals relapse after treatment. Relapse doesn’t mean your child has failed or that the treatment program didn’t work, but you do want to help your adult child prevent relapse as much as you can.
Some of the most common signs of relapse include:
- Sudden change in attitude or mood
- Elevated stress levels
- Denial of stress
- Sudden behavior changes
- Feeling lonely, depressed, bored, and/or unsatisfied
- Missing recovery meetings
Your child might also be on the verge of relapse if they start justifying their substance use, lying, and isolating themselves physically and emotionally. But one of the best ways to recognize signs of relapse is to attend counseling sessions with your child and begin to understand their triggers and reasons for abusing substances.
Invest in Your Child’s Future By Learning About Our Approach To Treatment
Here, at Genesis Recovery, our mission is to restore lives and families that have been negatively impacted by addiction challenges. Our approach to treatment combines four distinct life-changing elements:
- Clinical treatment
- Participation in a 12-step program
- Faith-nurturing activities
- Strong recovery community
We also specialize in family therapy, which can help you and your adult child build a healthy, thriving relationship. Invest in your child’s future by contacting us today to learn more.