How to Communicate with Kids About Addiction
In the throes of addiction, it’s important not to forget about all the different types of people who are affected in the process. In particular, the children in the addict’s life cannot be simply brushed off when it comes to the recovery process. Like most things in life, honesty is the best way to handle these types of situations. Sitting down and talking to kids about addiction can help them understand what this person that they love is going through. Here’s some tips for talking to children about addiction…
Know That You Can’t Hide It
One temptation that many families have is to the the entire ordeal from the children, which is just a way of neglecting to confront the situation. However, kids, while more innocent, are not stupid. Children will be able to recognize that something odd is going on, even if they don’t understand the intricacies of what addiction is. This is especially true for older kids, but just as true for younger ones, who have an innate ability to empathize that alerts them when stress is going on around them. Rather than trying to hide the situation from the children, there is something else that should be tried…
Be Honest with Your Children
The best course of action, when it comes to confronting the heart of addiction with your children, is to simply be honest with them. It doesn’t mean that you have to be explicit in the specifics of drug abuse, but it does mean that you are very up front with the struggle of the addict and what this person that they love is going through. This keeps kids from coming to their own solutions, and puts to rest a growing curiosity that can eat away at them as they are growing up. Establishing transparency with your kids early on builds a strong foundation of trust that they will have in you, as well.
Help Them Understand the Harm
By being honest with your kids, it also gives you the ability to talk to them about the dangers of addiction that may be presented in their lives. If any good can come out of somebody that they know going through this, it can serve to help kids see the true hold that addiction can have over a person’s life. Without villainizing the person who is actually going through addiction, try to communicate the importance of avoiding situations and substances that can lead them on a similar path.