Statistics on teen drug use are frightening because they show that a lot of young people are experimenting with harmful substances. Not all of these teens will develop an addiction, but many do and the consequences for them and their families are serious. When you have an addicted teen in the family, it impacts everyone. The best thing you can do is face the problem head-on and get help for your teen.
Drug Addiction and Dysfunctional Roles in the Family
Addiction is often called a family disease. It involves everyone, even if just one person struggles with addiction. More attention is given to the ways in which a parent’s addiction affects the family, which is most often devastating and long-lasting. The effects of a teen’s substance abuse and addiction, though, can also be upsetting and serious. When anyone in the family has an addiction, it tends to lead to the development of dysfunctional roles. For instance, if one child has an addiction, the siblings may take on certain roles that are inappropriate for their ages. One older child may take on a parenting role for younger siblings because the parents are too busy dealing with the addicted teen. Or, another sibling may act out and misbehave just to get attention.
Stress for Parents
Parenting addicted teens isn’t easy, and if you are struggling with this issue, it is likely causing a lot of stress in your life. You may have other children to care for while you worry about your addicted teen. You may struggle to even admit the seriousness of your child’s problem. In a worst-case scenario, you may be enabling her habit by making excuses for her or taking responsibility for her bad behavior. No matter what your individual situation is like, having a teen with an addiction adds a huge amount of stress to parenting.
Addiction as Family History
Another way that teen addiction impacts the entire family is that it becomes a risk factor for addiction in other members. If your teen is addicted to drugs, your other children are at risk. This doesn’t guarantee that they will develop problems with drugs, but you should know that it is a possibility. Make sure they know this too and share with them drug facts for teens so that they understand the risks and are empowered to make better choices about substance abuse. When you have a teenager in the family struggling with addiction, it impacts everyone. As a parent, your role is to guide your teen, to get her the help she needs and to not turn a blind eye to the problem. Involve the whole family in the solution and participate in family counseling if necessary. Most importantly, get your teen the professional help she needs.