June 16, 2015

My Addicted Child Won’t Listen to Me. Now What?

Won't listen - 100PedalsTalking with your addicted child is never easy. These conversations have a tendency to explode, become emotionally charged, and very uncomfortable.

This wouldn’t happen if you were talking to the child you raised. But you’re not. You’re talking to a stranger. Addiction rewires the brain and turns your child into a two-dimensional, dramatic, defensive, narcissistic stranger. It’s like trying to talk to a cardboard cutout of your child. The person you used to know has disappeared.

Even so, there are things you must say to your addicted child. Conversations like these are essential. They help you and your family move forward in a positive direction.

Unfortunately, this stranger refuses to listen to you. That’s the conversational hurdle you face every day. But don’t worry. There’s a solution. When dealing with the addicted brain, what you don’t say is now more important than what you do say.

Here’s what I mean. A conversation about your house rules is one of those talks you must have with your addicted child. It’s an area you can control, and it reinforces your role as a responsible parent.

However, this is not an opportunity to rant, vent, complain, criticize, make demands, or open old wounds. Stay in control. Don’t allow it to sink into an emotionally charged argument. Be clear, concise, and leave no room for debate.

Stay calm and focused when you explain the benefits of following your house rules and the consequences of breaking them. Don’t threaten. Your addicted child is completely free to choose either option.

House rules are vital. There must be guidelines to follow when disaster happens. And we all know addiction is a walking disaster. Control what you can beforehand to reestablish your authority in your home. Let go of what you can’t control.

Follow these suggestions, and your addicted child will be more likely to listen. Your goal in any conversation is to inform. That’s it. What your addicted child does with this information is his or her responsibility. Not yours.


Is your child addicted to drugs or alcohol? Are you trapped on the emotional roller coaster of addiction? Dave Cooke can help. He’s an Addiction Coach and an internationally recognized speaker. Let him show you how to create an action plan that will move you, your family, and your addicted child back on track in a healthier direction. To contact Dave for private coaching, go to http://www.100pedals.com/coaching/ or email dave@100Pedals.com.

Are you on Dave’s email list? If you’d like to receive his monthly newsletter for the parents of addicted children and weekly blog post notifications, email dave@100pedals.com

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About Dave Cooke

Dave Cooke is a dad on a mission. His mission is to help parents get control of their lives over the powerful, destructive influences of a child's addiction. As the father of a son in a ten year heroin battle, Dave knows all to well the challenges parents and families face. He also knows there is a way to find peace in the chaos. It is his mission to help parents discover their path to a healthier, balanced life even if a child's active addiction is still part of their daily journey.