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Advice for Talking to Your Kids About Their Sibling’s Addiction

Addiction is a family disease, particularly when the person who is abusing drugs or alcohol is a teen living at home with their parents and siblings. For parents, the prospect of helping one child fight addiction in Fort Lauderdale is exacerbated by questions about how to address what is happening with the other children in the family. Although it may be tempting to try to pretend like everything is fine for as long as possible, it is usually beneficial to be direct and confront the issues head-on. Even young children are likely to sense when there is a problem, and not addressing the issues could cause them unnecessary distress. When addiction strikes someone in your family, use these tips to confront the problem with your healthy children.

Be Honest

Tell your children exactly what is happening in age-appropriate terms that they can understand. For very young children, simply telling them that their sibling is sick may be enough. With older children, be direct about the problem without conveying any sense that you don’t have control. Let your children know that the issue is something that you are working on and that the problems have nothing to do with them, nor do they have to take on any kind of responsibility for what is happening. Remind them that their sibling still cares for them but has an illness that may not let him or her show it right now.

Open Lines of Communication

Make your kids aware that you are always open to their questions and concerns about what is happening and that they can always be honest. Not only does making yourself approachable give your children an outlet for their fears, anger, and sadness about the situation, but it also lets them know that they should tell you if they witness dangerous behavior.

Get Help

Substance abuse treatment for teens involves family counseling, and aftercare services are focused on helping teens with addiction issues repair their relationships with the family. While this kind of counseling may help your other children, consider other resources, such as Alateen, where teens in families dealing with substance abuse can go to vent and get support. Private counseling can also be helpful.