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The Do’s and Don’ts of Parenting an Addicted Teen



Parenting an addicted teen is a tough job. It can be especially difficult if you are not familiar with the disease of addiction and its effects on teenagers. 

Addiction has ravaged many families, and it’s important to know what to do when your child becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs so that you can help him or she gets into treatment

— before it’s too late.


Table of Contents

DO: Get educated about the disease

If you’ve read this far, then chances are that you know that your teen is struggling with addiction. But do you know why?

Do you know what substance abuse is? Or how it affects the brain? Are there any warning signs that can help parents identify a problem sooner than later? 

What about treatment options for teens

—what do they entail, and how do they work?

To understand what your child is going through, it’s important to get educated on addiction in general. 

This way, when the time comes for an intervention or other family meeting about their drug use, you’ll feel confident in addressing it head-on without feeling overwhelmed by the unknowns of substance abuse.


DON'T: See yourself as a failure

  • You are not a failure, you’re just a parent who is trying to help their child. There is no shame in being an addict or in having an addicted child. Addiction affects everyone—all races, genders, ages, and socioeconomic statuses. So, you are not alone in this situation!
  • It’s not your fault that this happened to your family either—it was never about you; it was about them (and maybe other factors too). It is also important to remember that we all do the best with what we know at the time and that our children were probably suffering for quite a while before getting help (a sign of true desperation).


DO: Seek help for yourself

As you seek help for your teen, it is important to also consider seeking support for yourself. You can’t do this alone! 

Seek help from family and friends, as well as professional support (therapy) and/or support groups. 

Finding a mentor who has walked your shoes before can also be very beneficial.

If you are not sure where to start, here are some resources:

  • Support group – Your local treatment facility or hospital can provide information about local support groups in your city or town. These groups meet regularly to discuss recovery with others who have been there themselves and are willing to share their experiences with others beginning down the path of recovery. Many times these groups provide childcare so that both parents can attend without having to worry about finding someone else who will watch their child during such an important meeting time.

DON'T: Blame yourself

Blaming yourself is not helpful. It’s a way to avoid dealing with the problem and it won’t help you or your teen solve anything. 

Blame does not get to the root of any issue, nor does it provide any kind of solution for the problem at hand.

If you feel like you’re at fault for your child’s addiction, don’t beat yourself up over it! 

You can’t control what happens in their life; all you can do is love them unconditionally regardless of their choices and take care of yourself as well as possible in this situation.


DO: Enforce rules and limits

The most important thing you can do as a parent is to enforce rules and limits. 

You should think about what the boundaries are, like how much time your teenage child can spend on social media, or what hours they need to be home at night. 

If they break these rules, there need to be consequences that follow through with the punishment and follow-through is key here because it is so important for kids to learn how their actions affect others.

It’s okay if they don’t like it, but you need to make sure that they respect your authority and realize that you’re not going anywhere anytime soon!


DON'T: Enable your teen's addiction

As a parent, you may be tempted to enable your teen’s addiction. You might give him or her money to buy drugs, or let them or her stay home from school to recover from a hangover. 

If so, STOP! Enabling is when you make it easier for your teen to continue using drugs or alcohol by giving him or her something that makes their life easier and more comfortable

—like avoiding the embarrassment of sending them off on the bus with no lunch money because they were too hungover. 

You’re only helping your child by enabling him or her if he or she wants help

—but if they don’t want help because they don’t see anything wrong with their behavior, then enabling will only make matters worse!


DO: Get your teen into treatment, if needed, and support him or her through recovery

If you’re reading this and you have a teen that is addicted to drugs or alcohol, we are sure that your first thought is probably “How do I get my kid into treatment?”. 

We want to let you know that there is hope! 

There are many different options for treatment and often the best way to go about getting your teen into treatment is through an interventionist. 

An interventionist will work with you, your family members, and any other people who are involved in the life of the addict to figure out what type of treatment would be most beneficial for them. 

They can also help support your child during recovery by guiding how they can continue on their path toward sobriety without relapsing again after completing a program or being discharged from one.


DON'T: Let your teen return to substance use or relapse, even after a period of recovery

The odds are against you when it comes to preventing relapse. 

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reports that between 50% and 90% of teens who have been in treatment for substance abuse or addiction will make another attempt at sobriety.

While this isn’t a death sentence for your teen, it’s important to have a plan in place to avoid this possibility and protect your family’s sobriety. 

Don’t let your teen return to substance use or relapse—and don’t let them get away with it either!


DO: Consider an interventionist if your efforts are not working (but first, get some education)

If you are concerned that your family’s sobriety may be at risk, make sure you have a plan in place to avoid this possibility and protect your family’s sobriety. 

It will also help to get some education about the nature of addiction and what can be done to help someone recover from their substance use disorder. 

If the person with a SUD is still living at home, there must be no substances available in the home or on any property owned by anyone in your family.

If all attempts to help fail and it becomes clear that they cannot stop their behavior without outside assistance, consider having an interventionist come into your home or speak with them privately if they are not living with you anymore. 

Interventionists specialize in helping people who have been addicted for years confront their past behavior and make changes for the betterment of themselves and others around them

—if this is something your loved one needs then consider contacting one today!


DON'T Forget that you are not alone. Support groups exist to help you

As your teen’s parent, you may feel like your whole world has been turned upside down. 

You’re not alone, though; many parents of teens with addiction experience similar feelings and reactions.

When a family member is struggling with an addiction, it can be hard to know what to do or where to turn for help. 

Don’t give up! It does get better

—and recovery is possible for everyone. 

Remember that you are not responsible for your child’s behavior; however, there are ways that you can support him or her in recovery if he or she chooses this path:

It’s important to remember that if you are going through this journey as a parent of an addicted teen, you are not alone. 

There are many resources available to help you and your family through this process 

— whether it is seeking out professional treatment for your child or learning about how addiction affects families. 

The most important thing is to reach out when needed so that you can get the support you need from friends and family members who will provide love and understanding without judgment 

— people who know how to listen without giving advice, who validate your feelings and experience, who remind you that you don’t have to go through this alone.

And also try and consider options like alternative treatment methods that have been able to help others like the use of ibogaine in their treatment and we can provide you with the help you need all you need do is write to us for any assistance. 


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