How Much Should I Tell My Kids about My OxyContin Addiction?
Children and teenagers who live in a home where a parent is addicted to OxyContin generally know something is wrong. Their lives are affected by the addiction and will continue to be impacted by it for years to come. They deserve to be told the truth, so they can begin to process and make sense of their experiences. How the subject is addressed and how much detail should be shared depends to a large degree on the age and maturity level of the children. However there are certain general principles that apply in most situations.
Things Addicted Parents Shouldn’t Do
Things that parents should avoid doing in regard to communicating with their children about OxyContin addiction include the following:
- Don’t pretend nothing is wrong. Kids know there’s a problem, and if they aren’t told what it is, they may jump to wrong conclusions. Pretending nothing is wrong teaches them to distrust their instincts. It may lead to a lack of authenticity which follows them throughout life.
- Don’t do all the talking. Listen to what the kids are saying and answer their questions honestly. Let them know they can continue to ask questions and discuss the issue whenever they need to.
- Don’t assume you know how your children feel. Ask them and give them room to express themselves openly.
Messages to Communicate about OxyContin Addiction
The core messages that parents addicted to OxyContin should communicate to their children are the following:
- You are deeply loved.
- The addiction isn’t your fault in any way.
- Addiction is a disease.
- Addiction sometimes causes people to do things they shouldn’t do.
- I’m sorry for the things I’ve done to hurt you.
- Your feelings of anger and worry are normal.
- I’m getting help for my disease, but I won’t be well overnight. There will be ups and downs.
- Other families have gone through this.
Children should be told they can talk about the issues with others who can understand and help like school counselors or pastors. Families may choose to attend support groups together or receive family counseling. Children should also be told that having an addicted parent may raise their own risk of addiction, and that they should keep that in mind as they make decisions about substance use.
Give Your Kids an OxyContin-Free Parent
If you need help treating an OxyContin addiction, give us a call. Our knowledgeable phone counselors can help you understand your treatment options and find one that is right for you. They can check your insurance coverage if you wish and answer any questions you may have. Giving your children a healthy and drug-free parent is one of the greatest gifts you can provide. Give us a call and start the journey.