According to the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA), “1 in 4 children lives in a family with a parent addicted to drugs or alcohol.” Children can have an extremely hard time understanding and coping with a loved one’s addiction. It’s important for the child to know a few basic facts. The National Association for Children of Addiction calls these the “Seven C’s of Addiction:”
- I didn’t cause it.
- I can’t control it.
- I cant cure it,
- But I can help take care of myself
- By communicating my feelings,
- Making healthy choices,
- And celebrating me.
The Seven C’s of Addiction are important for any child struggling with a loved one’s addiction. Children often have a hard time understanding and coping with addiction. This isn’t surprising — a lot of adults often have a hard time understanding and coping with addiction, too. Involving children in a few of the multitude of areas of addiction can be hard for all parties involved, but it’s necessary for them to be educated. They can probably already pick up on certain signs, so being honest with them is the way to go. Obviously, it’s important to take into account the child’s age and how much will be appropriate for them to hear. The National Association for Children of Addiction also give children four key facts:
- Alcoholism is a disease. You can’t cure it.
- You cannot control your parents drinking.
- You are not alone.
- You can talk about the problem.
Although these four facts may seem basic, giving children this knowledge will serve as a basis for them to build on as they grow older. Knowing that alcoholism is a disease, just like any other, is important for them to develop stigma-free ideas. Knowing that they cannot cure it takes some of the weight off their shoulders. Also, knowing that they cannot control the drinking of their parents is important for the child to know. Taking the guilt and blame away from the situation is important for the child. One of the most important, if not the most important, thing for a child to know is that they are not alone. They may feel a distance between their loved one with an addiction, so giving them the reassurance that they are not alone is important. You, as a caregiver, must also treat them like they are not alone. This means offering constant support and keeping open lines of communication. This goes along with the last key: you can talk about the problem. That means with you, another trusted adult, or even a therapist. Knowing that they can talk about addiction also removes some of the stigma surrounding it.
Pinnacle Recovery is here for families dealing with addiction. If you think your family needs extra care, reach out to us today at 1-866-301-0573. We can’t wait to hear from you!