“So my son is sitting outside my door in the pouring rain with nowhere to go. It is breaking my heart. I am no good at this “tough love” thing. He’s been here four months. I took him to detox twice and one rehab to which he left. Today he robbed me again and took everything I had. I told him not to come back. Now he’s sitting outside saying he has the money he took and has nowhere to go. What do I do? I can’t take it anymore!” ~ From a mom sharing personal agony on her addiction journey
It is hard to know what to do in these situations. As a parent, each of wants to take their child in, give them a hug, put them in dry clothes, and show our love for them. That is a normal and very appropriate response. There are no right answers here, only questions.
If you do not change the way you deal with your child, will the behaviors they are currently engaging in ever change?
If you do not change your behaviors and responses to someone’s actions, will the people you are dealing need to change theirs?
What changes if you engage in the same, predictable actions when presented with a challenge like this?
Change is not easy. It is hard to adjust or alter the way we communicate with our children in response the situation they are in. We do not want to punish them, we never want them to experience painful consequences as a result of the choices they make, and we certainly don’t want to lose our child to their addiction driven mistakes.
If we protect them, make exceptions for them, shield them from outcomes they need to learn from – how can we possible expect them to change or alter their behaviors? If they know there are no consequences, only the threat of one, they will not be responsible for changing anything.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
An addicted child puts parents in painfully difficult situations. They challenge us to do things we never would have imagined or believed possible. Their decisions hurt and confound us. Their actions often confuse and destroy us. Eventually we are going to have to make some tough decisions if we are ever going to regain our sanity, take control of our life, and challenge our children to make their own choice and learn from their behaviors.
Only you know what you need to do, when you finally need to do it, and why it is necessary. You are your child’s parent. You know what you desire of them, from them and for them. Only you can make the decisions as to how you want to raise, develop, and teach them. No one can tell you what to do – it is your call. These are tough times, difficult times.
Just remember, nothing changes until you do. The rest is up to you. Peace!
100Pedals has just released two FREE programs for parents. (1) “Addiction and the Family: Four Guidelines to Embrace” is an audio progam that provides parents perspective for dealing with addiction in the family. To obtain your digital download click here. (2) “Addiction Conversation” is a weekly podcast where Dave Cooke interviews parents, those in recovery, counselors, and legal experts to provide their perspectives from their experiences with addiction. To listen to an individual session click here or to download the podcast to I-Tunes click here.