Addiction is a family disease. It affects much more than the person alone. Children are usually the ones that are most tormented from a drug addicted parent, and the trauma around this can last for a lifetime. Children of addicted parents need therapy. At New Directions for Women, young children ages 0-13 are allowed to stay on campus with their mother during their treatment. We understand how important it is for family and generations to be healed. We are one of the only and oldest facilities to offer this option.
How an Addiction Affects a Child
Drug addiction affects more than 11 million people in the U.S. today. Popular drugs range from cocaine to methamphetamine to prescription medications and LSD/PCP. Individuals choose to use a drug for many different reasons however many do not think about how it could affect their children. Unfortunately, once drugs become part of a person’s life, the risk of negatively impacting their family is increased.
Sometimes, for the addict, the drug is the one and only thing that matters. The importance of family is sacrificed to fulfill the desire that substance abuse creates. Sacrificing family, especially in families that have children, has life-altering implications. Children are neglected, bills go unpaid, houses become unsanitary, and other family or close friends become distant. This detachment and negative environment is difficult for the child. It can cause severe psychological problems that last far longer than the addiction in many cases.
How Therapy Helps Children
Children often feel that they are to blame for their parent’s problems. They can feel a sense of blame and guilt due to their inability to prevent their parent’s condition. They feel ashamed of their parent and their addiction, as well as isolated and alone.
Having someone to talk to, an opportunity that occurs in therapy, offers a child a way to release those feelings and emotions. At New Directions for Women, we regularly offer family and parenting groups to teach women the skills they may have forgotten, or never learned, as a result of their addiction. We also embrace the task of creating an environment where kids can learn to be a kid again. Sometimes, the child has had to become the adult, or caretaker, in the situation. At NDFW, we want the child to enjoy the joy and freedom of childhood, while their mother gets well.
Children learn, in therapy, that having an addicted parent is not their fault. Therapy can help the child to find the proper way to channel their anger, pain, and other emotions. During therapy children can talk and get a response, all without being afraid or worried about being judged or criticized.
Because children cannot express themselves in the way that adults do, a counselor can find appropriate methods for helping them communicate. Methods are dictated based on the age of the child. Therapy also offers the chance for the child to understand that they are not alone, and that they don’t have to fix the problem.
In addition, for children dealing with addicted parents, therapy can help the child experience the love and affection that is often lacking in their homes. Therapeutic programs can help build a child’s self-esteem as well as assist them in solving problems that they face as a result of their parent’s addiction.
Treatment, for children of addicted parents, can be very helpful. If there is a child in your life who has dealt with an addicted parent, getting them this much-needed help cannot come soon enough. New Directions for Women offers treatment options to families who have been negatively affected by the disease of addiction. We believe that the entire family needs treatment. Everyone needs healing because everyone has been touched or impacted by it. Making sure everyone is healed helps the addicted parent achieve life-long sustained recovery and get the support they need. Know a family, child, woman, woman with children, or pregnant woman who needs treatment? Contact us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or simply by phone at 800-939-6636. We can help.