The holidays can be stressful and having a teenager with substance abuse problems can make it even more difficult. There are different ways people manage this situation during this time of year. Some families choose to pretend everything is like it used to be, and some families don’t want to celebrate at all. You and your family don’t have to go to either extreme. You can find a balance this season that will allow you to enjoy the holidays while managing your teen’s drug or alcohol problems.
If your teen is in treatment, things may be getting better because he is getting help. It’s important to be even more supportive during this time. If he has made new sober friends and wants to spend more time with them than with your family, don’t discourage it. It’s important for your child to be around people who have been through the same things and who can offer support in a way that you may not be able to give.
We sometimes forget that our children are watching, even if they act like they want nothing to do with us. People tend to overindulge in drinking over the holidays. Remember that actions speak louder than words, so if you’re drinking heavily (or using drugs) around your children, especially one who is in recovery, you’re not setting the best example.
If your teen is still struggling with an addiction, the holidays are going to be more stressful than usual. Make sure he knows your expectations during this time. Set up boundaries that you plan to enforce. If your teen doesn’t want to participate in holiday activities, don’t force him, but make sure he understands that he can’t ruin them for everyone else. If theft has been a problem in the past, you may have to hide gifts rather than put them under the tree.
Expectations tend to run high during Christmas. Rather than trying to make things the way you think they “should” be, focus on the moment itself. It’s easy to get caught up in longing for when your children were smaller and things were simpler, but time moves forward and children grow up. Your teen may be going through issues now, but there is hope that he will make it through. Remember that when you start to wish for things to be the way they were.
When getting together with extended family, make sure they’re aware of your situation so that they can offer their support to both you and your teen.
If you have other children, make sure they are getting enough attention. When you have problems with one child, it’s normal to spend more time trying to take care of them, but don’t forget about your other kids. Be sure to spend extra time with them to let them know that you’re proud of them, and that you are appreciative of their support during this trying time.
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Do you suspect your teen is abusing drugs? Call Legacy Freedom Treatment Center of Wilmington to speak with a counselor today. Our approach to recovery includes the family members of our patients because we know how important it is to have a support system when you’re struggling with something as traumatic as addiction. We offer outpatient therapy so patients don’t have to be taken away from family during treatment. Family members can actively participate in private and group therapy sessions in order to learn coping and support skills. Call us today if you're looking for the best of all the substance abuse treatment centers in Wilmington NC.