Your baby boy or little girl very quickly grows up and becomes familiar with issues and challenges that no one, let alone a teenager, should have to face.
Not only is the addiction itself a problem, but the addiction often comes hand-in-hand with stealing (to cover the cost of drugs), sex (based on the social circle your teen has discovered), dangerous interactions with shady dealers, and potentially, jail time.
It’s not fun. For many parents, it’s frustrating – even infuriating!
Upset with the decisions your child is making, and feeling guilty that somehow you might have played a role in this outcome, it can be very easy for relationships, and even lives, to be ruined.
But … this does not have to be the case. Drug addictions can be overcome.
Although you can never force your child to change course, you can encourage, support, and pray. Together, you may be able to help your teen discover a more enjoyable and rewarding life – away from drugs.
If you’ve discovered that your teen is addicted to drugs, here are some steps you can take.
1. Don’t Be Too Hard On Yourself
One of the first things many parents tend to do is blame themselves. No one is perfect and attacking yourself won’t help solve the problem – if anything, it can make it worse.
If there is something legitimate on your conscience, get help from your pastor (Pastor Martin Hawley) or a trained Biblical counselor. God has provided the means for forgiveness and restoration, and needless guilt is something you need not live with.
Recognize that your teen made a decision to become a user – independent of you. Although you will inevitably feel stress and sadness because of their decision, it’s important to remember that it was their decision.
2. Don’t be Hard On Your Teen
As DrugAbuse.org shares, blatant interventions like those seen on TV are unlikely to have a positive effect on your teen and their drug addiction.
If you want to help your teen, address the problem, but make it clear that you still love them – unconditionally.
Be willing to listen to them, talk with them, and hold your tongue when they lash out in anger towards you. It’s your responsibility to treat them as Christ would – with an unconditional love that first accepts, and then guides (not the other way around).
This can be hard, especially in the heat of the moment when your child is screaming and yelling at you. Don’t give in and don’t fight back. Simply listen, keep your patience, and love.
3. Don’t Empower Your Teen to Continue Using Drugs
One of the hardest things for many loving parents to say is “no”. But it’s critical – especially when it comes to drug usage.
If your child is addicted to drugs, you need to love them and accept them, but make sure that you are not empowering them.
Cut off their allowance, take away any credit cards, cars, etc., that can make accessing drugs easier. It may even be necessary to take away their electronics – something few parents are willing to do in today’s society.
You should address the issue thoughtfully and prayerfully – but you should make sure that you are never providing assistance to your teen in their search for drugs.
4. Seek Professional Help
The most important thing to do once you are aware, or suspect, that your teen has a drug addiction is to seek professional help. Both medical doctors and biblical counselors can help analyze the situation and come up with potential solutions.
Use discretion when talking with your teen about meeting with a professional. If they are open to the idea, then that’s great. If they may be opposed, you may be able to take them in for a routine medical exam and simply mention to the doctor ahead of time that they may be on a substance.
A teen or young adult will likely feel more comfortable speaking with a doctor or counselor about their challenges than they would a parent or other family member. So, rather than try to force your child to speak with you about the issue, reach out to experts who will be able to connect and guide your teen. By placing the responsibility in the hands of a professional, you can keep your relationship with your child focused around compassion and caring.
If you’re ready to start looking for a professional or a rehab center, visit our resource page for a list of local Suffolk County, New York drug experts.
5. Pray and Remain Connected to God
While professional help is needed, there is no one more capable of touching your teens heart and motivating change then their Creator.
Unfortunately, because of both sin and free will, God can’t simply answer your prayer by forcing your child to drop their addiction.
However, there is undoubtedly power in prayer – and bringing your concerns, thoughts, and petitions to God can have a powerful effect on the world around us. Not only that, but it can have a powerful impact on us. As you pray for your teen, your heart will come in line with God’s – making it easier to act Christ-like towards your child.
Also, pray with others. As Matthew 18:20 states, “for where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them”. Connect with your spouse, church friends, family, and pastor, and lift up your child. Together, as a community, you can have a much larger impact than praying on your own.
6. Remember that God Loves Your Child and You
There are many things in this world that we will never fully understand until Christ’s return – and drug addiction is certainly one of those items.
What we can be sure of is that God loves you and your teen – and he is constantly striving to connect and interact with us. He has no interest in scolding, condemning, or attacking us. No, he desires what’s best for us – both for this life, and for eternity.
God is able to work beyond our understanding. Even though sin and free will prevent God from doing everything that he would like, he is still able to work with us to overcome our weaknesses.
If you have a child who is struggling with addiction, seek out professional help, by committed to doing what’s right, and, most importantly, focus on loving your child as Christ loves us. Nothing is more able to turn someone’s life around.
Keyword: what to do if your child is addicted to drugs