How You As a Parent Can Help Your Addicted Child
Does your child need some SARCASM?
Parents of addicted children often struggle with not knowing how to approach their child and how far to push them to get help. The worst thing parents can do is sit by idly and watch, or try to hide the situation because they are afraid or embarrassed.
If you are a parent and you have a child who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, Dr. Karl Benzio has some important words for you. In his ebook, How To Help Your Addicted Child, Dr. Benzio explains addictions, some of the spiritual aspects of addiction, but most importantly, gives valuable advice to parents about how to handle any common struggles parents face with an addicted child.
We all have basic needs, but adolescence and young adulthood are when these needs get threatened the most. We think we have no one to look out for us and we have to meet all our needs on our own, so insecurities and feelings of inadequacy get magnified.
These 7 basic core needs spell SARCASM, and as parents, your role is to help meet these needs when they are younger, while showing them how God is their ultimate provider of these needs. Then your child can joyfully live as they walk in God’s plan to get these needs met in the unique calling God has on their life. So give your child some SARCASM:
SELF – Your child is looking for his or her identity. For a long time they have been hiding behind their addiction and have been afraid to be their genuine self. Sit down with them and affirm who they were before life’s pressures and stresses and their addiction started to change them. Tell them about the special gifts, abilities, personality, and insights they have that make them unique and special. They don’t need to take on an image, lifestyle, or pose to be unique. They are uniquely designed, so be that person.
ABILITY – Your child feels like a failure – they can’t even manage their own life – and they need to go someplace to help them make better decisions in the most basic areas. You as the parent should let them know that they have some unique skills and abilities, a blending of attributes which make them unique and special. God has designed them with these special abilities and wants your child to use them in powerful and cool ways.
RELATIONSHIP – For so many years your child’s most significant relationship has been with his or her drug of choice or their addiction object. We are all designed to have a relationship with God and be in relationships with others. For your child, relationships have been difficult, stressful, broken, and filled with failure for a number of years now. They need you to help them learn how to connect with people in a healthy and caring way. They also need to reconnect with God and listen to his plan for their life. Forgiving (not just others, but themselves) and accepting forgiveness will be important relational steps in their transformational journey.
CONSISTENCY – Your child’s life has been marked by chaos over the last number of years. Their head has been swirling and each day is becoming more random than the one before it. In order to start moving forward, your child needs to be standing on solid ground so they aren’t shaking or moving. They need consistency and stability, and you can be a big part of helping them see the importance of these things. You can help your child develop consistency in small areas like meal time and sleep time, and then move on to apply it to bigger areas like relationships, impulse control, emotional stability, and conflict management.
ADORATION – Almost everything in your child’s life has been based on conditions; right now they need your unconditional adoration. This means that besides God, your child is the most important thing in your life. However, just because they’re the most important thing in your life and you want to show them unconditional love doesn’t mean you say yes to everything they want. God gives us unconditional love and that doesn’t mean he says yes to everything we ask for. Your child needs to know that you are on their side and are willing to help them and advocate for them when so many people have rejected or left them because of their dysfunctional decisions. Just like the prodigal son’s father always wanted to connect with him, waited for him, and adored him regardless of the mistakes he made, you can be the kind of parent who unconditionally loves your child.
SECURITY – Your child’s life has been filled with spiritual, emotional, psychological, relational, and physical danger. He or she has been walking the high tightrope for a long time. The pressure has been incredible, and they have cracked many times. You’ve seen it with their crazy and stupid decisions. You can start to provide some safety for them. Mainly this is relational safety, as you deal with them in a mature and healthy way: a calm voice, a compassionate tone, and the gentle touch. Make sure your child knows that they are safe with you. You can also let them know that God has their back if they are willing to put themselves under God’s authority.
MEANING – Your child has been living under the delusion that the meaning of life was to get high or to escape their problems through drugs or their addiction. They know that there’s more to life, but are having trouble understanding what that is. You can help them understand life is awesome and there is so much meaning to life. You can help them discover what the special awe-inspiring spiritual and psychological spheres that make us humans are all about. Encourage them to read the Bible to see what God reveals to them regarding the meaning of their life and their chapter in the bigger story God has written about all mankind.
When you dial 1-877-562-2565, you are connected with a trained Lighthouse Network Care Guide who will listen to your story, answer your questions, and find your best treatment options available.