While we generally think of parents as always taking care of their children, there are times when children take on the role of caregiver. When there is a parent with addiction, children often find themselves in the situation of needing to care for and look out for their parent. It can be difficult for a child to see their parent in that condition, no matter their age, which is why children often need guidance to help them get through it.
Although many adult children find themselves needing to help their parents, younger children also face having a parent with an addiction. It’s estimated that more than 8 million children under the age of 18 live with at least one adult who has a substance abuse disorder.  That amounts to more than one in 10 children.
No matter your age, if you have a parent struggling with addiction, we’ll give you some tips to help you along the road. We’ll also explore how getting your parent the treatment they need to battle their addiction can help.
How to Help a Parent with Addiction
When you’re dealing with a parent who has an addiction, there are several things you can do to make the situation better for everyone involved.
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Create Healthy Boundaries
It can be difficult to set boundaries when dealing with a parent with an addiction. But it is essential. Learning to say no is a big part of creating healthy boundaries. If your parent asks you to do something that makes you uncomfortable and helps to support their addiction, you can say no and set that boundary.
You can also ensure that your parent is aware of your personal space, whether physical or emotional. This can help to let your parents know that while you’re there to help them, you have your limits, and they need to learn to respect them. Setting a boundary does not have to be an ultimatum.
Open Up to a Trusted Friend, Family Member, or Mental Health Professional
When you’re trying to be a shoulder to lean on for your parent, you also need someone to talk to and confide in. Find a friend or family member you can talk to and express your feelings. Mental health professionals are also a good source if there is no one close to you that you can trust. They can offer an unbiased third-party view. Mental health professionals can also provide expert opinions and advice. This can help you navigate as you deal with a parent struggling with addiction.
Don’t be an Enabler
Many children struggle with wanting to help their parents so badly that they become an enabler. This can take on many forms, such as covering up a lie about how often a parent uses drugs or alcohol. It can also mean lending money to support their habit. Children can also be enablers if they clean up the messes their parents leave behind due to their addiction. By not being an enabler, you can help your parent battle their addiction.
Find Activities That Make You Happy
While you may be focused on your parent, finding activities and people who make you happy is also important. You need to find something that brings you happiness through it all.
This can be anything from reading a good book to getting together with friends or playing sports. The idea is to do something that has nothing to do with your parent’s addiction. This doesn’t mean that you forget about them or about helping them. It simply means taking the time to care for yourself and make yourself happy. Without this, you can’t expect to help your parents and give them the support they need during difficult times.
Seeking Help for a Parent with Addiction at Clear Life Recovery
At Clear Life Recovery, we help people dealing with all types of substance abuse disorders. Our addiction treatment programs include detox services as well as 12-step programs and evidence-based approaches. We aim to help our patients find the best programs to treat their addiction. We understand that everyone’s addiction is different, and their treatment programs must also be unique to their needs.
For more information on our programs, call us or contact us online.