Raising children in this day and age is difficult to say the least. Parents try to set good examples for their children every day but still struggle to do the right thing in each situation. Raising children as a recovering addict is even more difficult. How as parents can we shelter our kids from the horrors of addiction? Are there parenting methods to help prevent this? What can you do?
- Teach by example - Each child is different and has their own individual set of needs. Some children learn by observing while others will jump right in and learn by experiencing things firsthand. As a parent we need to be cognizant of these differences and engage each child in the best manner possible. Above and beyond this we as parents need to teach by example. Don’t drink, even casually, in the presence of your children. By not using drugs yourself and discussing the consequences of using and abusing substances with your children you will instill an effective deterrent in them.
- Be open and ask questions - If you have had any addiction problems in your life it is best to be open and honest about them and more importantly discuss with your kids what you did proactively to change your life. Make it clear that asking for help is not a sign of weakness but of strength. Lead by example.
- Your influence has limits - You can only do so much. There are limits to your ultimate influence on your children and the outside world will have a major effect on them by itself. We do not come from perfect families nor do we always know what the right thing to do is in any given situation. You just have to do your best to be an effective leader for your family. The ultimate hope is that by showing your family how you live your daily life, always seeking to better yourself and make informed decisions, in turn they will do the same.
- Exude love for yourself and others - When children see how your treat yourself and others around you they learn how to deal with life’s myriad of situations. If they see you get out of control, angry or depressed they may learn to deal with similar situations in negative ways. Do your utmost to stay calm and mindful of each situation and your family will hopefully do the same.