Many addicts have convinced themselves that what they do is nobody’s business but their own. Unfortunately, there is almost never one, sole person affected by addiction. It is a persistent illness that creeps into the lives of each and every person who has any kind of relationship with the addict. There is a lot of suffering with addiction, but no one suffers more than the ones that you want to shield from the most brutal realities of your addiction—your children.
Children of addicts are subjected to a greater risk of emotional problems that result in behavioral issues, failure to thrive in school, aggression, depression and anxiety. They are also prone to relationship problems later in life and many eventually become addicts themselves. It is a vicious cycle.
Children are the reason why many parents seek treatment and put forth all of their energy to get sober. The love that you have for your children is very real, and you want to do right by them and be the parent that they deserve. To do so, you must learn some new parenting skills and acquire positive role models. Here are some tips for parenting through recovery.
Build Your Healthy Home
You have probably heard that there is a connection between genetics and addiction. In fact, you might be the child of an addict yourself, reacting from the combined forces of genetics and learned behavior. You might not be able to change your genetics or those of your children, but you can absolutely change the behaviors that they learn. Having a healthy, stable home can combat addiction. Environmental influences play a much bigger role in the road that children take with drugs and alcohol compared to genetics. For this reason, passing on the skills that you learn in recovery on to your children is very important.
Having a healthy home starts with you. You are the rock on which your family is built. For this reason, it is critical that you tend to your needs first—otherwise, you are of little use to your children. Your goal is not to be a perfect parent. Use your support and skills to be the parent that your children deserve.
Have Fun and Focus on the Positive
Spending time with your children and having fun as a family is one of the very best ways in which you can serve them. Many parents in recovery do not know how to have fun with their children because this is not something that they experienced themselves. Go to the park together, play a board game, bake a batch of brownies—get used to smiling and laughing together, because there are many more happy moments to come. Do not let the past consume the present or the future. As a recovering addict, you are a new person. Praise yourself and your children for each milestone passed and enjoy your time together.
Counseling services are great for families who are experiencing recovery. If you would like more information on these services, view our treatments or contact a representative with South Coast Counseling today.