When a child develops an addiction to a substance or a lifestyle, it can be especially hard on the parents. Regardless of how the child was brought up, it’s only natural for parents to wonder what they’ve done wrong and what they could have done differently to keep this from happening. Oftentimes, when an addiction is already in full swing is too late to start thinking about how you could have or should have acted. Rather, parents should start now, before any signs of an addiction are even imminent, to help their children steer clear of an addiction. To help with this, here are three ways to help your children avoid the pitfalls of addiction.
Set A Good Example
Arguably the best thing you can do to help your child develop a healthy relationship with whatever substances come into their lives is to set a good example for them. While you might enjoy the occasional drink, if keeping your child away from addiction is your priority, you shouldn’t be promoting a life of indulgence yourself. However, if you can’t set the best example for your child, DeAnna Jordan, a contributor to U.S. News and World Report, shares that it’s just as good of an example to set if you’re able to ask for help when you need it. By showing your child that if you make a mistake, it’s okay to admit it and ask for the help necessary, they may take that lesson to heart and follow your example in the future. A good place to start with asking for help is to determine whether or not you need help at all – this am I an alcoholic? quiz could be useful in this instance if you are at all concerned about the amount you drink.
Teach That Actions Always Have Consequences
With all the various parenting techniques in the world today, many children aren’t taught the basic principle that all actions will have consequences, be it good or bad consequences. Because of this, many teenagers or young adults don’t think far enough ahead in their life to see how an addiction will harm them. To combat this, Drs. Ron and Cherie Santasiero, contributors to Parenting.com, suggest teaching your child that their negative actions will always have negative consequences. While this may require you to be more of a disciplinarian, hopefully your child will learn that something like addiction won’t lead them to the life they want for themselves.
Develop A Relationship With Open Communication
A lot of people turn to substances or acts that then become addictive as a result of something lacking in their life. With this in mind, Richard Taite, a contributor to Psychology Today, encourages parents to try to create a good relationship with their children to the point that there is always open communication. By doing this, you should be able to recognize if there’s a problem that could lead to an addiction before that addiction comes on in full force.
If you’re worried about your child potentially indulging addiction behaviors, use the tips mentioned above to help them overcome these hardships before it’s too late.