How Do I Talk To My Other Children About Their Sibling’s Addiction Problem?
To protect them or inform them? This is a challenge faced by all parents whose household has become victim to addiction. Stonewater emphasizes these suggestions for safely involving your other children in the discussion of drug and alcohol addiction.
- Timing Is Of The Essence- Don’t Wait For It To Get Worse: Studies have shown that teens who abuse substances in their adolescence tend to continue to do so into adulthood. Finding a beloved child intoxicated or with drugs and/or alcohol poses an immediate threat to their health and the health of the entire family. Early intervention is the best way to prevent a prolonged problem. Having regular family discussions, which are both formally informative and informally open, helps create the dialogue ahead of time. Should things get to a point of crisis, meaning sudden departure of your adolescent to treatment, you don’t want to leave the other children bewildered. Bring up rules, boundaries, and consequences for substance abuse. Ask your children what they know, what they think they know, and what they aren’t sure of when it comes to drug and alcohol abuse. You’ll equip them to ward off temptations among their peers or from their sibling.
- Stay Positive And Non-Threatening: In science, physics typically proves that too much oppression of energy and pressure leads to an explosion. If you create an environment of fear around drugs and alcohol, there may be more effort on the part of your children to try it. Rather than act with dictatorship or as an authoritarian, invite your children to be part of the conversation. Our adolescents are autonomous people who have to make many decisions without you when they’re at school, among peers, or home alone with their siblings. Drugs and alcohol are a part of our world and things our children will encounter. Rather than attempt to shelter our young children in fear, suit your children up with the armor of love. Keep a positive attitude and avoid creating threatening ultimatums as consequences.
- Emotional Honesty Is Key: Parents tend to feel they must put on a strong face all the time. When a loved child starts abusing drugs and alcohol, being emotionally honest with your other children can be healthy. Let your children know the behaviors of their sibling are scaring you because drugs and alcohol can be harmful. Encourage a family culture of emotional honesty. Addiction in the household can create a culture of secrets and withheld emotions. Many children who are emotionally suppressed develop a mental illness, which is a risk factor for abusing substances in the future. By staying emotionally honest, you’ll stay away from shaming your own experience, the experience of your other children, and the experience of your loved child who is struggling with substance abuse.
- Stay God-Centered: Faith is an important and powerful tool to use when we approach our family with difficult discussions. Demonizing a sibling for the drama they cause at home is easy to do when siblings point blame- anyone doing anything “wrong” must be going against God’s will. Everyone gets lost now and then and strays from the path. Even in the midst of the storm, we trust the Lord to have planned every rain drop. Together as a family with a united belief, you can get through these trials and tribulations.
Stonewater Adolescent Recovery Center is committed to bringing healing through therapy, treatment, and faith, to young adolescent males who have found themselves lost in the tides of addiction, anxiety, depression or trauma. By providing individualized treatment plans, we help your loved one find themselves anew. Call us today for more information on our recovery services: 1-662-598-4214.