What did I do wrong? Most parents who have a son addicted to drugs or alcohol has thought this to themselves. Haven’t I been a good parent? Where did I go wrong? What could I have done differently? Our sons are always our children, no matter how old they get. When they are adolescents and teenagers they are children, which makes their addiction even more confounding. We feel as though we have failed as parents because we couldn’t prevent addiction from happening and we weren’t able to stop it on our own. Whatever broke our children’s spirits, we feel we failed at fixing. Addiction is pain. Seeing children, our children, in pain, is one of the most painful thing a parent can go through. Somehow, we believe, that punishing ourselves and causing ourselves some kind of pain can compensate for our children’s pain, the pain we hope we didn’t cause, the pain we cannot control. Through the process of our self-punishment we lose sight of compassion for ourselves, most often because we are trying to pour every ounce of compassion we have into our sons’ recovery. Mindful cites Kristin Neff’s definition of self-compassion, which includes kindness, common humanity, and mindfulness. The article explains that compassion may be “…a resource for resiliency and a protective buffer against both internal and external criticism.” Just as your son is learning to be more compassionate with himself, you can learn to be more compassionate with yourself as well.
Use mindfulness to catch moments of self-judgment
Parenting should never be advertised as easy. From the minute your son was born, you’ve been full of self-doubt at times, casting judgment on your every little flaw and mistake. Mindfulness is a practice of noticing and awareness. If you can notice your moments of self-judgment, you can start to become aware of what inspires those moments and what triggers your insecurity. After you become familiar with the patterns, follow those moments with a positive affirmation, reminding yourself that feelings are okay, you’re not a terrible parent, and that you deserve the same compassion any other parent deserves.
Be the parent you think you are supposed to be, to yourself
We all have a place in our heart which craves the presence of that perfect parent. The perfect parent is the one who is relentlessly joyful, gives unconditional love, knows just what to say, always offers a loving embrace, and cheers us on no matter the outlook. We can’t always be the perfect parent to our sons and but we can be the perfect parent to ourselves from time to time. Give yourself the loving, forgiving, warmth you need in moments when you are getting yourself down.
Together, your family can recover. When your son goes to treatment for a drug or alcohol addiction, the whole family has a change to recover. Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center offers adolescent and teenage boys a haven for healing with long term residential programs with academic support. Call us today: tel:+1-662-598-4214