The biggest fear for any parent is to find out that his or her child is abusing substances. Unfortunately, the world over such cases are on the rise. What worsens the situation is that often such children or young adults end up leading a double life, which makes it difficult for people around to help them.
An adolescent might be abusing addictive substances when in school or with friends while leading a sober life at home. As a result, parents often never find out about his or her addiction. In addition, sometimes changes in the behavior of an adolescent are confused with hormonal changes, normal in this age group, further camouflaging the problem.
Both parents are equally important for a child’s upbringing and well-being. However, these days even single parent families are increasing. Therefore, it is important for a father, as much as a mother is, to be aware of the symptoms of substance abuse in his child and to keep a check on it. Whenever any such signs are noticed such as a lack of interest in schoolwork, aloofness, etc., it becomes the responsibility of the father to find out if his child is into any kind of addiction and help him or her recover.
Some of the ways in which parents, specifically fathers, can help their children who are addicted to a substance, recover, are:
- Trust your instincts: If a person as close to a child as a father feels that his kid might be abusing an addictive substance and is in need of help, it is important to discuss the same directly with the child. A person should never ignore such feelings and discuss them in detail to provide adequate help to the child. It is possible that the child might respond in an unexpected way that may turn the discussion into an altercation. In such situations, it is advisable to remain calm as he or she might not be aware of the impact of this habit on his or her health. Alternatively, the child may admit to the problem and even ask for help. In such times, it is important to reassure the child and take him or her for appropriate counseling and treatment.
- Violate privacy, if required: It is important to respect everyone’s privacy including that of one’s child. Since a growing child expects a higher level of privacy in his or her life, a father should inquire about his child’s activities to the extent that does not violate his or her privacy. However, if the need arises, fathers should not give violating their kid’s privacy a second thought especially when it is required to protect the child.
- Consult teen’s pediatrician: Once it is confirmed that the child is abusing some form of illicit substance, it is important to ensure that the father takes the child to a pediatrician to check the treatment options. It is also important to find out whether the child can be treated for his or her addiction at the pediatrician’s clinic. Besides a thorough consultation, he should ensure the complete assessment of the child and find out the appropriate treatment options and health care facilities, which focus on such problems.
- Focus on positive traits: To promote a positive attitude and behavior in children with substance abuse problems, it is important to praise their positive traits and activities. This will help in building their self-esteem, as well as in reinforcing a healthy lifestyle.
- Practice self-care: Practicing self-care is extremely important for parents with a child with an addiction problem. This is because the entire phase of helping the child in recovering from his or her addiction can be tough and might cause several health issues, such as stress, depression, etc. A father can help his child in recovering faster from addiction through first caring for himself.
Make a difference
Children always need support, love and care from their parents to lead a healthy life. Therefore, parents should ensure that their relationship with the child is strong enough to allow them to guide him or her toward the right path.