Are you confused about whether you should lean in or let go regarding your child’s drug or alcohol use?
Do you feel frustrated when things are out of control?
There is a lot of advice out there, the most common being to let go and detach. Your child may have the best chance of changing their life when you lean in instead.
First of all, there is a problem with letting go of your child’s issues too soon. You then will not influence them if there is no contact with them.
Letting go sounds tempting when you feel overwhelmed by your child’s negative behavior. You can step back from your child’s issues for your health and well-being, but it is not the first thing you want to do.
Yet, now we know that when you lean in and take time to get to the bottom of the problem, it can be what gets your child to consider changing their life.
Yelling, confrontation and empty threats often do more damage than good. You may feel like a pot boiling over. Many parents do. It is more beneficial for all concerned to talk to your child in a positive way. Look for what they are doing well, and do what you can to make a negative situation as positive as possible.
Imagine the game of tug-of-war. What’s the goal? The goal is to get the other team to your side and the harder you pull, the harder they pull. This looks very similar in recovery. The harder we pull to get them to our side, the harder they fight. If we lean in, while it may seem counterintuitive, the response becomes different. The struggle to win is no longer there and you are just there, present, with each other. No one is fighting, no one is trying to convince someone that their way is better, and no one is trying to beat the other person. Your child has the ability to see you in a different light, and can see your willingness to be vulnerable, to be open and they may reciprocate and want to do the same. In this space, you can find how to work with your child through their recovery, rather than dragging them to it. ~ Natana Reason (Clinical Program Director – Colorado Springs)
Anyone concerned about their child struggling with substance use needs strategies they can use independently. Parents need simple, easy-to-learn tools that are helpful.
Never forget: This very moment, we can change our lives. There never was a moment, and never will be, when we are without the power to alter our destiny. ~ Steven Pressfield
Here are three ideas to consider that can help you lean in and support your child.
Take Time to Listen and Understand
Many parents quickly search for a solution to fix the problem. It is certainly understandable. When my child was in her addiction, I wanted to find someone to help us.
Of course, along the way, I also hoped there would be something I could say that would help.
While my family is in a better place now, it would have benefited all concerned to have had more clarity about why the drug use started in the first place.
It is essential to take the time to understand what your child is getting out of their drug use. That is one way you can lean in when your child is struggling.
Some parents have mentioned that they believe their child feels calmer, less stressed, or more mellow when using substances. Others have said that their child feels more connected and less lonely.
So often, our children are in pain for a variety of reasons. It is essential to walk in their shoes and gather a deeper understanding.
Let your child know that you understand what they are going through and that you care about their feelings.
Here are four questions to ask yourself that will give you more understanding about why your child is using:
“What do you think your child likes about using?“Who is your child usually with when they use?”“Do you know what your child is thinking about right before using?”“What do you think your child is feeling before or while they are using?
Talk to Your Child in a Positive Way
Positive communication is another way to lean in. You are more likely to get what you want, and it will open doors to more satisfaction all around.
Here are seven positive communication tools to consider when you are talking to your child.
You do not need to include them in all conversations, but these are good tips to keep in mind.
1. Be Brief[Keep it short and simple.]
Do you remember Charlie Brown’s teacher who talked on and on? I know my kids tuned me out on more than one occasion, and yours may have too. When you get to the point concisely, it helps. When you say something once, it can be a suggestion. Continual repeating of the same information can feel like nagging.
2. Be PositiveAlways look at the positive side of a situation.]
You may feel hard-pressed to find something positive when your child makes bad choices. Look for opportunities in every situation. Think past the drug use to its positive qualities and focus on those as often as possible. Consider how you can turn a negative into a positive.
3. Be Specific and Clear [Concentrate on one area.]
When you are clear and concise, you have more chance of being heard. Be clear and focused on one area of concern. Do not go on and on about many topics. Focus on the behavior you want to see changed.
4. Label Your Feelings[I feel…
It helps to label how you are feeling. I felt a bit frustrated the other day, and I said to myself, “What I’m feeling is frustration.” By labeling my feeling, I recognized it, and the feeling subsided. If you acknowledge your feelings with your child, take it down a notch to be calmer.
5. Offer an Understanding Statement[I understand why …
Share a time when you were young and you felt the same way as your child. Sharing that you had similar feelings helps your son or daughter feel more connected to you. It lets your child know you have compassion for their feelings.
6. Accept Partial Responsibility[I know this is partly my fault because … ]
Accepting a small part of the responsibility can be tough for parents. Remember, you are not taking responsibility for your child’s drug use. You recognize that life wasn’t always perfect for your child during their upbringing. No one’s life has been excellent, so rest assured, you are not alone.
7. Offer to Help [I’d like to …. ]
The simple words, “How can I help?” can make a difference and show your support.
Reinforce What Your Child is Doing Right
My book answers many of the questions readers of this post may have – including how to help their child find recovery compassionately. Click on the book for more information. I hope the book is helpful.
” data-medium-file=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/1.png?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ data-large-file=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/1.png?fit=200%2C300&ssl=1″ loading=”lazy” class=”size-full wp-image-20776″ src=”https://i0.wp.com/cathytaughinbaugh.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/04/1.png?resize=200%2C300&ssl=1″ alt=”The Compassion Antidote” width=”200″ height=”300″ data-recalc-dims=”1″ />My book answers many of the questions readers of this post may have – including how to help their child find recovery compassionately. Click on the book for more information. I hope the book is helpful.Positive reinforcement is so fundamental that it can work in almost any scenario. It is easy to forget about anything positive when you are in the depth of dealing with your child’s substance use. Often, all you can think about is the addictive and destructive behavior you see. You may lose sight of how positive reinforcement could help.
As Robert Meyers says in his book, Get Your Loved One Sober, “The goals are (1) to improve the quality of your life and (2) to make sobriety more attractive to your loved one than drinking (or drugging)”.
“Rewarding” your child for not using substances or for other positive behavior can help to reinforce what your child is doing right. It can move you all to a more peaceful existence.
Positive reinforcement provides another opportunity for hope, empowerment, and understanding when you are concerned about your child’s behavior.
Some positive reinforcement tips:
Brainstorm healthy behavior that you want to reward. Pick a reward you feel willing and able to give. (Verbal acknowledgment is an excellent place to start.)The rewards should be as small as possible. For example, a hug or a smile can be a reward that a child of any age remembers.The rewards need to be age-appropriate and something that your child values.Give the reward exactly when the behavior occurs or as soon afterward as possible.Don’t give something before the behavior occurs in hopes that the behavior will change later. Positive reinforcement is not a bribe.You should be enthusiastic and keep goals for your child achievable. If you become stressed or start to feel resentful, take a break. You will then be more able to have positive interactions with your child.Vary the rewards. For example, a hug, a small gift card for coffee, or an outing together could be rewards that your child remembers and appreciates.Track the good behavior and the rewards that you are giving.Finally, one of the most important things to do is reward yourself Keep a list of “treats” you can give yourself when you feel you’ve earned it. You can even reward yourself for rewarding your child.
Substance use can feel negative. The more you lean in and approach your child’s behavior in an optimistic, positive way, the better you will feel. You will have a better chance of your child will have of changing their life.
Now over to you. How can you lean in and support your child positively when struggling?Thank you for reading. Learn research-based tools that can help you motivate your child to change. Add the Sunday newsletter to your weekly routine. Sign up now.
Also, consider getting access to my online course, Regain Your Hope, which gives you an action plan to help your child. Know that your child can change. Love, Cathy
By: Cathy Taughinbaugh
Title: 3 Powerful Ways to Easily Lean In When Your Child is Struggling
Sourced From: cathytaughinbaugh.com/3-powerful-ways-to-lean-in-rather-than-let-go-when-your-child-is-struggling/
Published Date: Thu, 22 Sep 2022 15:45:49 +0000