How Can Parents of Addicted Adults Practice Tough Love?

Being a parent of an addict is hard. How can parents of addicted adults do needed things that go against their parental instincts? Learn more about tough love.

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As a parent of an addict, it’s hard to find the right mix between helping and enabling. For many parents, it’s also difficult to express and follow through with tough love.

Are you struggling with this issue? Do you want to help your adult child break his or her addiction without enabling him or her?

Parents of addicted adults all over the world struggle with this problem, so you’re not in this alone.

If you want to learn how to practice tough love, here are some principles you should consider using.

Understand the Difference Between Helping and Enabling

If you’re serious about using tough love in this situation, an excellent place to start is by learning the difference between enabling and helping.

Helping your addict adult child break an addiction includes steps that create boundaries and hold them accountable for their actions.

Enabling, on the other hand, gives them the upper hand and helps them continue using.

A good way to measure whether you are helping or enabling is by watching how they view your response. If they are happy with you, you’re likely enabling. If they’re mad at you, you’re probably helping.

Educating yourself with addiction can help you create boundaries, understand what enabling is, and find the healthiest ways to respond.

Accept That You Can’t Fix the Problem

Another necessary principle to understand is that you can’t fix the problem. Any attempts you have to help your child could potentially help them, but ultimately it’s up to them to take the path of recovery.

You can’t fix the problem, and you should never accept the blame for it or take responsibility for fixing it.

Never Give Them Money or Other Things

Tough love is hard to do, but it is the loving thing – even if it doesn’t feel that way. To practice it, you’ll need to stop giving your child money or things.

You shouldn’t even offer him or her a place to stay for the night, no matter how much you’d like him or her to be safe in your home. Offering an addict a place to stay enables him or her to continue the addiction.

Don’t Fall for Giving Them Pity

Addicts are notorious for making people feel sorry for them. Many addicts will say or do whatever they have to do to achieve this goal. As a parent of an addict, don’t fall for it.

Parents of Addicted Adults Need to Let Them Hit Rock Bottom

The hardest part of tough love is letting your adult child hit rock bottom, but this is often a necessary step. Until a person hits rock bottom, he or she may have no motivation to stop the addiction.

As they say, “when you hit rock bottom, there’s nowhere to go but up,” and this is true with addiction.

When they hit this point, they may agree to start evaluating some drug rehabilitation centers for help.

Seek Help Instead of Doing It Alone

It’s tough for parents of addicted adults to talk about this problem, and it’s even harder for them to seek help for themselves.

Seeking help, though, for yourself, is crucial for your well-being. It’s also critical for the way you handle the situation from this point on. To learn more about this subject, check out the rest of our blog for more helpful articles on addiction.

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  • Hi there…

    I believe that anyone can create a flexible, natural lifestyle without a ton of stress!


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