Your child is an integral, inseparable part of your life. And to see them in pain hurts you to the core. If you suspect your child or spouse has a drinking problem, now is the time to do something about it.
There is hope for people abusing alcohol. And the first step to finding help begins with you.
Signs to Notice:
- Clumsiness: When drinking, many people lose fine motor skills and lack the coordination to walk or handle objects. While this might appear to be just clumsiness to the untrained eye, it’s a red flag for drinking.
- Slurred speech: A telltale sign of alcohol abuse is slurred or incoherent speech.
- Bad judgement: Heavy drinking clouds one’s judgement and makes violent, dangerous or rude actions more prevalent.
- Shakiness: A physical warning sign of alcohol abuse is shaky hands, especially when the person hasn’t had a drink in a few hours.
- Insomnia: Drinking heavily can change a person’s sleeping habits.
- Behaviors: When a child is abusing, you may notice of slip in school grades, a lack of interest in activities previously enjoyed, a change of friendships, and increased absenteeism.
How to Talk to your Child about Addiction
If the warning signs are apparent, your child may have issues with alcohol. Still, a full evaluation with a qualified behavioral health professional is the best way to know for sure. But how do you talk about addiction with your son or daughter?
What to Say
Be Forceful, but Positive: You’re the parent, and what you say goes. But what you say matters just as much as how you say it. Use positive, hopeful, inspiring language when talking to your child.
Express Concern: Many alcoholics aren’t aware of the impact their drinking has on their family, friends or others. Show your concern for them and appeal to them emotionally.
Ask Open-Ended Questions: Don’t just preach—have an open-ended dialogue with them. Ask open-ended questions such as “what do you think?” to engage with them.
What Not to Say
Making Judgements: Alcoholism is a disease, and making sweeping judgements about your child is a hard thing to avoid. Don’t be judgemental. What would you like to hear if you were in their shoes?
Using Labels: Don’t assign labels such as “alcoholic” or “problem drinker” to child. Use hopeful, embracing and accepting terms instead.
Steps to Take
Before you have a conversation with your child, find a resource to send them to. It’s not fair to confront someone without having a next step. When the time is right, have a firm but loving conversation about your choice to have them seek help. Make sure you use encouraging and non-judgemental language throughout your conversation. And—above all—be a parent, not a preacher. They need your help, not your admonishment, and it’s your job to help them get the assistance they need.
Finding the Right Resource
Everyone who is trying to defeat their issues with alcohol needs a resource to help. Alcohol abuse may not be something your child can conquer by themselves. When determining the right place to send your child, consider these four things:
- Is the behavioral services facility CARF accredited?
- Are they committed to enhancing your quality of life?
- Can they help your child meet their personal recovery goals?
- Can they create a custom recovery plan to help them on their recovery journey?
The journey to manage addiction may not be quick, but it’s an important mission. There is hope, and your child can find help at Prelude.