Parents in Recovery: Eliminating the Inheritance of Guilt
Parenting is sometimes overwhelming for anyone that has the experience of being a mother or a father. But, for parents in recovery, parenting can be even more challenging. Parents in recovery have to live with the knowledge of their experience of addiction. This knowledge can bring about emotions that could affect parenting methods and in the result, affect the child. It is important for parents in recovery to implement a few helpful skills and methods so that emotions provoked by addiction do not affect the children being parented or relapse. Identifying the problems that many individuals face as parents in recovery can help us identify the same problems in our own lives so that we may manage them.
Recognize your Own Needs
More often than not, especially if a child is aware of a parent’s addiction, the parent will feel tremendous guilt. This is the overwhelming and common problem for all parents in recovery; guilt. To compensate, these parents often overlook their own desires and needs to care for their children. Parents in recovery must remember that to take care of their child’s priorities, they must first take care of their own. This includes attending regular 12 step meetings and maintaining recovery on a daily basis. Don’t forget what you have learned throughout recovery just because you are a parent; self-care is vital for relapse prevention. Taking care of your needs for recovery and self-care could prevent you from relapsing and potentially overdosing, which would be even worse for your child(ren).
Implementing Correct Discipline
Experiencing guilt as a reaction to becoming a parent in recovery can lead to improper disciplinary methods. Yes, all parents have their own views on methods of discipline, and recovery doesn’t change that. But, no matter the form, discipline is important for children to understand potential threats, develop moral beliefs, maintain relationships, behave properly, and much more. Age appropriate rules and disciplinary reactions, regardless of the guilt that you experience as a response to previous addiction, can help to improve areas of your child’s life that were off balance before.
Use Praise as a Tool
Although discipline can be difficult to carry out, praise is much easier to disperse. While both are necessary, it is important to let your children know when they have done something right. This will show them that when they perform and behave well, life rewards them. Children of addicted parents will often only receive discipline or neglect being praised at all, so it is important for these ideas to be utilized once in recovery. Additionally, implement positive experiences together as a family. This way your children can understand that there are positive experiences in the world without the influence drugs or alcohol, and learn to develop healthy family relationships themselves.
For children who were born previous to their parents’ drug or alcohol addiction or can remember their parents being addicted before treatment and recovery, counseling may be necessary. Family therapy programs allow for all members of the family to express their concerns and feelings. This helps to reduce emotions of anger and resentment while being guided through conversation by an addiction specialist. Often times, those addicted to substances do not think that they are harming anyone but themselves. This is far from the truth as loved ones, especially children, are affected as well. The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center offers a family recovery program for families of recovering addicts. This program looks to address the causes of addiction and implement healing strategies that can be used to repair and maintain family relationships throughout recovery.
Be Patient for Results
Parenting skills aren’t developed overnight. Parenting is frustrating at times for everyone with children, so remember that mistakes are not a result of your past addiction. Try not to beat yourself up. Get to know your kids so that you understand their behaviors. Allow for time to heal your wounds and do something productive to incorporate new parenting strategies daily. If you decide that additional counseling is best for your family that has been touched by addiction, The Wellness Retreat Recovery Center can help by providing you with our family recovery program. To learn more about our services and programs, please visit our website. If you would like to talk to a recovery admission specialist confidentially, please call us so that we may answer any of your questions or concerns at 888-821-0238.