All parents wish to protect their children and save them from the risks of alcohol. However, as kids grow, it’s inevitable that they will begin to explore it.
If your child has begun drinking and you suspect they are falling in the spectrum of substance abuse, here are a few things you can do before the matter gets worse.
1. Gather Evidence
Alcoholism is a very serious disease leading to both legal trouble and health complications. The risks of drinking are very high and as parents, you want to inform your children about these dangers. Of course, this alone does not always prevent them from getting too into drinking.
If you believe your child has been drinking too much, before talking to them, gather some evidence. What signs have you seen that led you to this conclusion?
When talking to them, you want to provide solid evidence that there is a problem. Perhaps you’ve noticed alcohol bottles around the house or they have been performing poorly in school. If they are already at a point of drinking too much or dependence, they will not be receptive to simple accusations – you will need hard facts.
Perhaps you child has been coming home late (drunk) or acting differently. They may be spending less time at home or begun hanging around a new set of friends. The signs are there, and you need to find them. After all, there is a reason they have turned to alcohol and as parents, you are able to help.
2. Talk to Your Child
Once you have hard facts in mine, the next thing you want to do is speak directly to your loved one. Let them know that you are concerned and see how they react.
If you approach them harshly with accusations, you run the possibility of making things worse. After all, you’re probably right that they have been drinking too much and they may get defensive once the subject is addressed. The more you can show genuine concern and a desire to help, rather than judge, the more receptive they will hopefully be.
Here are a few tips when approaching your child:
- Speak with them only when he/she is sober.
- Instead of accusing them of substance abuse, calmly present facts.
- Give them specific examples of how their drinking is affecting them and those around. You need to be prepared to talk about uncomfortable things.
- Ask someone else (a friend or relative) to speak with them if you can’t connect with them. Believe us, there is power in numbers!
- Do your best to avoid “yes” or “no” questions. Ask them how they are feeling or perhaps how they are struggling. You don’t want to do all the talking and don’t make the conversation feel like a lecture.
- Be supportive and offer them help, especially when they recognize they have a drinking problem. Remember that talking with your child about a topic as serious as this one is never easy – for you or them.
3. Help Them Rediscover Sobriety
We hope the talk you have with your child is successful and they admit they need help.
If stopping on their own and with the support of their loved ones is too difficult, consider short-term interventions. If this does not work, it may be time to consider checking them into a rehabilitation center.
Here, they will discover the underlying reason that they fell into drinking and a treatment center will provide them with the necessary tools to manage their lives and get back on track. There is no shame in checking into a rehab facility and you need to make this known to your loved one.
If your child is unwilling to pursue this option, consider an intervention. Gathering friends and family members to speak with them is a good idea for it will assure them that there is a problem. Not only this, but they will feel supported by those they love most.
If you suspect that your child is headed down a dangerous path, visit a reputable rehab provider, such as Soba College Recovery, which is a service geared toward younger individuals that can help your child free themselves from this addiction. For more information on how they can help your child, visit sobanewjersey.com/.
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