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Parents’ Guide On How To Deal With College-aged / Adult Child Alcoholism

October 19, 2021

It is no secret that college students often develop their alcoholic habits during college. This is a time where they are away from home which means that they have no immediate adult supervision. This means that they are living outside of their comfort zones and they are willing to explore alcohol during parties, gatherings, and more. This is the time when they succumb to peer pressure to try out different alcoholic drinks so that they will seem more acceptable among their young peers.

It is normal for you to feel alarmed about this. It is challenging to navigate this issue with your child since asserting your authority as a parent may result in rebellion.  Here is a guide on how to deal with your college-aged alcoholic child.

Tips For Parents

View Things From Their Perspective

It is very tempting to put the blame on your child and on your child alone. However, it is important to recognize that alcoholic activities are ingrained with college activities. It is a time for experimentation and exploration about their freedom.

Recognize that they are a victim of circumstances and despite everything, they still deserve to be treated with love and respect. They need your emotional support for them to stay encouraged to achieve full sobriety.

Establish Boundaries

It is still important to be assertive about the things that will help them stay sober. The first thing is to mandate your child to cut off any form of communication from the toxic people that enabled them to develop a drinking problem. The individuals that will increase the likelihood of a relapse. These individuals may have taken advantage of your child or enabled their bad behaviors in the past.

Another thing is to ensure that your child stays away from these enabling environments. They should avoid all of the places that allowed them to develop a drinking problem. This may be a bar, a club, or any other hangout area in which they drank and partied before. Being in these areas can trigger their desire to relapse and to go back to their old ways. They should avoid these places if they aren’t fully recovered yet.

Encourage Healthy Activities

Achieving full recovery requires a lifestyle change. This is because a healthy mind and body is their first line of defense against a relapse. When they live a healthy lifestyle, they will be of sound mind and will have the ability to resist temptations better.

Make sure that your child spends each day making healthy choices. Encourage them to get up early each morning, squeeze in a workout, and practice meditation for mindfulness. You should also prepare healthy, well-balanced meals that will nourish their bodies. 

Plan Activities For Each Day

Boredom is the biggest trigger for a relapse. When your child has too much available time in their hands, they will wallow in their negative thoughts and feel the urge to go back to their old ways. Make sure to plan each day with a list of new and fun activities that they can try out. 

This can be anything like painting, going on a hike, learning how to make clay pottery, and more. These activities may also encourage them to meet new people especially if they attend classes. These new acquaintances and experiences will give them the extra push to break free of their toxic past.

Encourage Them To Change Their Contacts

Ask your child to change their phone number. This ensures that the toxic people from their past will have no way of contacting them again. They won’t receive invitations that may trigger them to relapse.

You should also ask your child to block these people on social media. Breaking contact is very important for a successful recovery.

Cut Down Screen Time

Make sure that your child minimizes their social media usage. Social media is filled with temptations. Every post from their friend that shows they are out drinking or partying can make your child miserable and feel left out. Even references from movies or pop culture that glorifies alcohol can push them over the edge. This may cause them to resent the process and this may even turn into resentment towards you.

Minimizing social media also ensures that they stay away from their enablers. 

Empathy Over Everything

The most important thing is to approach your child with an empathic heart. The road to recovery may feel scary and lonely for them. They are young and they didn’t know any better. The primary thing they need is a loving and supportive network of family and friends. 

You should keep this in mind even if your child’s alcoholism has resulted in nasty consequences, like damaged property or jail time. Stay empathic but do not coddle them to the point of immediately bailing them out without giving them the chance to think about the negative consequences of their actions.

Choose The Perfect Treatment Center

Nothing beats professional help. Make sure to pick an addiction treatment center with age-specific, gender-specific, and long-term treatment plans. These ensure that your child will be treated in a comfortable environment with a facility that is well-acquainted with their needs.  

Contact us to get your child started on their path to sobriety. 

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