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The effects of addiction: On parents

The effects of addiction: On parents

You can tell she’s lying by her body language. She doesn’t need money for a school project, and she won’t be gone for a few days on a field trip. Over the weekend? That doesn’t even make sense. You almost don’t want to call her on the lie because it will just explode into an exhausting fight, and although she looks worse every day, she still won’t fess up to what’s really going on.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids published an article, “What I wish I had done differently with my addicted son.” The responses, surpassing 515 and still climbing, comprise parents with similar outpourings of pain and desperation. The article author’s chief regret? Not listening to the right voices, which she says is different from searching for answers.

The enabler and the protestor

Often parents are split. One may enable a teen addicted to substances for fear of losing them or out of guilt for causing the stress that led to addiction. The other parent may refuse interaction or vocalize their staunch opposition to recklessness. This taking of sides can dissolve a marriage. A single parent may volley in between both stances, which is equally detrimental.

According to Suzanne Phillips, Psy.D., there is a way to ensure the marriage outlasts the child’s destructive path.

“Some parents are so enthralled with their teen … they abandon a personal interest in self and their relationship to become the 24/7-support team and audience to their child. Some parents are so worried by the problems their teen seems to have … that they abdicate their role as partner to be the vigilant parent.”

  • Remember, your spouse will be there after your kids have left the house

Waiter, waiting

The question then becomes what to do while protecting one’s own mental health during a child’s recklessness beyond seeking counsel and self-educating on the addiction.

Revelatory insights can be gained by incorporating word meanings from other languages to personal life.

Vekovye” is one of several Hebrew words for “wait,” which is interpreted by some scholars as an active waiting or service – loosely related to the English idea of waiting on tables in a restaurant.

  • Wait by filling your time helping those in need: volunteerism

Makrothymia” in Greek is defined as patience, forbearance, internal and external control in a difficult circumstance, which could exhibit itself by delaying an action.

  • In patience you can only control yourself; forego rash responses.

Chuwl” is a most interesting Hebrew word for “wait.” Definitions include: “to tremble, trust, wait carefully (patiently), be wounded, to dance, to writhe in pain, hope, look, birth” and more.

  • Remember life is divided into seasons, chapters; observe this waiting as a writhing, painful dance that can birth new beginnings with your carefully patient support – either for you or you all

Lack of quantifiable effects

Dana Connolly, Ph.D., explains a noteworthy deficit in clinical research regarding psychological and emotional effects of children with addiction on parents. She sees a potential flaw in current accepted theoretic framework:

“Only the impact of parents’ behavior on their kids is studied. Divorce and negative results from teen drug abuse are viewed as markers of family dysfunction that put kids at risk, not the other way around. The dynamic interplay between parents and their children is currently ignored and children are viewed as passive. Studying the impact of kids’ behavior on parents would be an outside-the-box approach. I think we need to study that!”

The Sovereign Health Group has emerged as a nationwide leader in mental health rehabilitation from addiction, psychological disorder and eating disorders. We are a hub of doctors, therapists, alternative therapy experts and residential attendant’s all dedicated to tailoring treatment to each individual for lasting recovery. Call our 24/7 helpline for details.

About the Author

Sovereign Health Group staff writer Kristin Currin is a mindful spirit swimming in metaphysical pools with faith as her compass. Her cover: a 30s-something Cinderella breadwinner of an all-sport blended family. Her repertoire includes writing poetry, lifestyle articles and TV news; editing, radio production and on-camera reporting. For more information and other inquiries about this media, contact the author at