Across the nation, families are struggling with addiction, with youth, young adult, and adult children addicted to drugs. In more cases than not, parents will do almost anything to help their child, even if it means unintentionally enabling a drug problem. Enabling can be one of the most destructive patterns a parent can do to help a child addicted to drugs and or alcohol. It is often the people who love the addict the most that do the enabling, they literally love their kids to death.
But what’s a parent to do when their oldest child is addicted to drugs? Are they supposed to sit by and watch him or her destroy themselves before their eyes? Should they blame themselves for what they have done wrong as parents? Was this happening because they are bad parents? What would others think if they knew? Unanswered questions like these haunt thousands of American parents every day. And yet, the real problem is often that parents are unintentional drug abuse enablers.
Drug use is affecting too many youth, and young adult in our country. Approximately 1.8 million children, ages 12 to 17 years, need substance abuse treatment, with only 150,000 getting the help they need. Over 50 percent of teens who develop a drug addiction have a co-occurring psychiatric condition. Teen and young adult drug addiction is a big problem that affects the entire family, not just the addicted. We need to be religiously educating our youth about the repercussions of substance abuse. Much of this education needs to occur from the comforts of the teen or young adult’s own home.
“Parents will do anything to protect their children, and unfortunately when it comes to addiction, they love and enable them right into their graves.”
So if you are a parent just trying to keep your teens safe, make sure that is exactly what you are doing. Here are some common examples of how parents can enable their teen and young adult’s substance abuse:
- Loaning money (which winds up being used to support the drug habit).
- Paying off debts (which many of them have due to the drug habit).
- Providing transportation to and from places, whether they never got a license, or ended up losing theirs due to drug and or alcohol abuse.
- Making excuses for drug influenced erratic behavior, and the loss of personal relationships to due this behavior.
- Completing academic assignments because your teen, or young adult was too intoxicated to finish the work themselves (making excuses as to them being under too much pressure).
If you suspect that your teen or young adult is abusing drugs and or alcohol, contact their pediatrician or physician for resources on where to go and who to talk to.