It’s understandable that parents who have an adult child battling with addiction (i.e. illegal drugs, alcohol, or prescription medications) feel frustrated with the whole situation. Parents are typically targets for adult children asking for money, which will support an addiction. Their adult children may also use threats to include the grandchildren, such as “we will be out on the street if you don’t help us.” If you are in this situation, then you know how easy it is for an adult child to attempt to control you or to manipulate you with his or her childish behavior. The games that an addicted adult plays may look a little different each time, but, when you give in, you know youe financial support isn’t helping your child get better. Instead, by giving financial support to fuel the addiction, you are enabling your child to continue being an addict.
Addictions are commonly perceived as diseases that people need to find permanent relief from, perhaps something they were born with or developed because they had an addicted parent. However, another way to think of alcoholism and addiction is that it is a choice that an adult makes. Being an alcoholic or an addict is also a choice that an adult can unmake. The question is whether the adult child has the willingness to change. If you, the parent, keeps lending economic support to your child’s addiction, there is little reason for your child to want to change. He or she will not have to deal with the natural consequences of such addictive choices. However, your financial support could be well-invested in the event that your son or daughter decides to seek help from an addiction treatment center.
<h2>How to Forgive</h2>
If you have been providing emotional or financial support or both to your adult child, it’s understandable that you might resent many of his or her controlling behaviors. There has been much pain in your life as you have tried to deal with his or her addiction as best you can. It’s hard not to always step in and cushion the fall. However, you don’t have the ability to change an adult child’s behavior. You can only change yourself. You can certainly change how you approach the antics your adult child engages in to receive more help from you. If you deal with your addicted child in a new way, he or she will have to change the response. This is simple because the situation is different and your child quickly realizes that his or her old tactics aren’t working anymore.
1. As a parent of an addict, you must stop reacting to your child’s controlling behavior. This means that you will have to remain calm and not give in even when your child’s aggressive behaviors escalate. This includes not reacting when he or she tries to use your grandchildren as pawns in the game.
2. You must learn to forgive your adult child. Forgiveness means that you are able to make your peace with the past, including all ways that your child hurt you while trying to get support for his or her addiction. It means that you don’t get to hold on to feelings of anger, resentment, disappointment, regret, or guilt. These feelings may be valid, but keeping them close instead of releasing them will not help you change.
3. Once you stop giving financial support, you must be strong and wait through the difficult period in which your child decides whether or not to change. This could look like many things. An adult child could try to go into treatment, become more aggressive towards you, commit a crime to get money for the addiction, move far away and take the grandkids along for the ride, or seek help from another enabler. Some addicts also seek the company of other addicts to commiserate, but their associates may not be the best role models. That being said, former addicts may encourage your child to go into treatment after explaining how their lives have improved through addition treatment and recovery.
If you’re ready to get started with addiction treatment in a center serving adults ages 18 and over, please call us today at 770-299-1677. Forgiving your adult child will take time, but it’s a great thing to consider doing for your own emotional well-being. Don’t keep blaming yourself for not being able to fix this problem because your adult child must change his or her bad choices.