Confronting a child on something they have said is always an interesting encounter as a parent. Parents sometimes resort to a trope like “Because I said so” to exact their authority when it comes to common and not so common knowledge. Children, on the other hand, are in a great unknown of their minds. Without an advanced emotional vocabulary and a deep understanding of the world around them, or the world within them, the things they think or believe and as a result say, don’t have to have a “because”. It simply is. Parents who are supporting a beloved child in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, as well as other members of the family, have a unique opportunity to add onto the “because”. Even as adults, we too often take our immediate thoughts and feelings at face value because we thought so. We aren’t always right. The same goes for our children. Automatic thoughts- the snap responses the brain resorts to, are often shrouding the truth of an emotional response. Rarely do we investigate beyond the face value of our thoughts and feelings or encourage our children to do the same. When our child, adolescent, or teenager is in treatment for drug and alcohol addiction, they are learning how to practice introspection and make a decision about their feelings. Doing so helps them realize that their feelings are manageable and that turning to drugs and alcohol is not a necessary requirement for coping. Parents can support their recovering child in this by asking what Dr. Amen tells Fatherly is a very simple question: Is it true? Asking this question or similar questions to a child makes a difference. Instead of telling a child that they are wrong, their thoughts are wrong, or their feelings are wrong, parents help with the process of discovery. Children can gain valuable emotional intelligence and knowledge by examining the roots of their thoughts and feelings for themselves. “That requires that parents are present, listening o what their kids are saying, and able to refrain from being dismissive of their issues.” the article titled “How to Arm Little Kids Against Negative Thoughts” explains. “It requires, in short, treating thoughts that are ridiculous as not wrong or right, but dangerous.” Though parents have to practice some vulnerability in this position, the pay off is worth it. “…On the other side of the intellectual fissure,” the article asserts, “is a very winnable battle.”
Treatment during the holidays is a challenge because families want to be together. Addiction tears families apart. Now is the best time to set you and your family on course for total recovery. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers long-term residential treatment programs for adolescent and teenage boys. Building positive foundations through life cleansing therapies, boys graduate from our program ready to take on life.
Call us today for information: 662-598-4214