Drug and Alcohol Rehab in South Bend, Indiana
Call Us Toll-Free: 1 (866) 396-6772

How to Explain Alcoholism and Addiction to a Teen

Children, and especially teenagers, are very observant. Even when parents, siblings, and other family members attempt to hide their alcohol addiction, it is very likely that the teenager has already noticed it. Talking to a teenager about a parent’s alcohol addiction is not an easy task. However, according to reports published by Psych Central, more than 28 million Americans are children of alcoholics.

The impact of growing up in a home where alcohol abuse exists can be extremely traumatizing to teenagers. They deal with emotional, academic, and behavioral problems that children of non-addicts do not have to deal with. They are more likely to see violence in the home, adopt addictive behavior, and marry an addict later on in life.

Alcohol abuse in the home is not something that can be ignored. Failure to discuss it openly will lead to more difficulties in the future. The following are some tips that parents can use when discussing alcohol abuse with their teenagers.

1) Time the Conversation

While there is no perfect time to discuss addiction with a teenager, it is better to do it when there are minimal distractions and the situation is calm. It may be good to discuss the situation with the teenager when there is already a plan in place to get rehabilitation help for the addicted parent, sibling, or family member. This will allow parents to explain the situation while at the same time showing the teenager that some steps are in place to improve the situation.

2) Use Age-Appropriate Speech

Obviously, parents want to be as honest with their child about the addiction problems their family faces as possible. However, parents must take in to consideration the age, mental, and emotional maturity of the teenager they are speaking to. The conversation should end on a positive note.

3) Be Truthful

Teenagers are very adept at identifying lies. So when discussing the problem with the teenager, it is best to do so in a truthful way. Addiction could be compared to a disease. Parents may lay out factors such as past trauma, environment, and genetics as reasons for why a family member is battling with addiction.

4) Acknowledge the Negative Aspects of Addiction

This is especially important when discussing a parent’s addiction. It is likely that the child has already experienced many negative and hurtful things in their life as a result of their parent’s addiction. When talking with a teenager, the non-addicted parent should validate the negative experiences that their child has had. Use this time to sincerely apologize for pain that the child may have experienced living in a home with an addict.

Broaching the subject of addiction in the home is extremely challenging. But it is often these difficult topics that are the ones that children need to discuss the most. Remember, every single day a child is living in a home with an addict, they are experiencing damage. Honest discussion is necessary in order to help a child beat the odds.

If you or a member of your family is currently battling alcohol addiction, now is the time to seek help. There are many inpatient programs available that are staffed by trained and caring professionals who have what it takes to help you beat your addiction and get your life back on track.

Leave a Reply