What if parents are using?
More than 1 in 10 children under the age of 18 live with a substance-dependent or substance-abusing parent. Children of addicted parents often have a very limited social life. The lack of a social life is one void that mentors are ideally suited to help fill.
Start a Dialog
- Make a special effort to be a good, reliable source of support
- Look for opportunities to help expand their social life
- Stress that you will keep what they tell you confidential, unless a life is in danger
- Reassure them that they're not to blame for their parent’s substance abuse
- Be sensitive to mood changes that may signal some worsening issues
- Help them develop ways to express anger and frustration
- Help them find coping skills (e.g.: listening to music, having someone to call, getting homework done at school…)
What to Avoid
Don’t go it alone. Seek help for serious issues involving abuse, violence and/or suicide.