How Much Should I Tell My Kids about My Cocaine Addiction?

Addiction impacts family relationships, and the addiction of a parent affects children deeply. When a parent is addicted, there is generally chaos and inconsistency in the home environment. Sometimes children suspect the cause of the disruptions, but often they arrive at erroneous conclusions.

Children need to be told about their parents’ addictions for a number of reasons. If they aren’t told by their parents, they may learn of the addiction from others. Having a frank conversation gives children the opportunity to ask questions and get truthful answers.

What Children Need to Hear about Cocaine Addiction

What children need to hear, and what they worry about, tends to vary with age. The youngest children want to know if they caused or contributed to their parents’ disruptive actions. They want to know they’re loved, and they worry about a parent dying or leaving. Older children and adolescents may have these same needs, but they may also wonder about their own risk of addiction, as well as focus on how the addiction has impacted their reputations and social relationships.

Experts recommend telling children the following things about your cocaine addiction:

  • You didn’t cause this. It’s important that parents avoid sending the message that they were driven to abuse cocaine because of family stress. It’s also important for kids to understand that their own good behavior won’t cure their parent.
  • Addiction is a disease. Children need to understand that addiction is a serious disease, but that it’s treatable.
  • Your feelings of sadness, confusion, anger, and worry are normal. Children need to have their feelings validated and understood. It can help them to know that many other children are experiencing the same situation, and they need permission to talk about the situation to others, such as a school counselor, pastor, or trusted friend. Adolescents can be encouraged to attend a support group like Alateen.
  • I’ll answer your questions. Children don’t need to know all of the details about a parent’s addiction, but they need to know they can ask questions and that their parents will answer honestly, taking into account the child’s age and maturity level.
  • I’m doing what I can to address the problem. Children need to know that a parent is taking recovery seriously and trying to get well.

Cocaine Addiction Help

Recovery from cocaine addiction is possible, and can restore both individuals and families. If you’re struggling with cocaine addiction, don’t put off getting help. The longer that children live with a parent’s addiction, the more deeply they are affected by it. Call our 24 hour, toll-free helpline, and let us talk to you about your treatment options. We can check your insurance coverage, if you like, at no cost or obligation. Someone is always ready to take your call, so there’s no need to wait. Call now.

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