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How to Talk to a Child About a Parent’s Addiction

Making the decision to enroll in drug or alcohol rehab centers is never an easy one — and adding a child into the mix can make things even more complicated. When a parent decides to get addiction treatment in one of the drug rehab centers in Santa Barbara, California, it’s time to sit down and have a talk with the children involved.

Even at a young age, children can be very sensitive to changes in the environment around them, so it’s essential to have a proper discussion with a child about why mommy or daddy isn’t going to be around for a while. Here are some tips for talking to your child about a parent’s addiction.

The first tip for talking to children about a parent’s addiction is to explain things to them as simply and clearly as possible. Do not patronize the child, but explain the situation in words he or she can understand. Paint the experience of treatment in drug rehab centers in Santa Barbara in a positive light, or a child might feel distressed.

Use specific examples to relate the experience of an addiction to something the child might understand. For instance, bring up a time when the child wanted something (such as a toy or a piece of candy) so badly he had a hard time controlling himself. Relate the child’s experience to the experience of a parent’s addiction.

Make sure to place importance on the child’s feelings. While the most important thing is for the parent to go away to Santa Barbara to get better, children may have a hard time understanding that. Don’t invalidate a child’s feelings, instead give the child a chance to properly work through his feelings and tell him it’s okay to feel this way.

Children also have a tendency to blame themselves for a parent’s addiction. Take pains to assure your child that an addiction is not something he could have caused — and that mom or dad will get better soon.

Talking to children about substance abuse may not be easy, but it is essential for their mental and overall wellbeing.

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