The very first reaction of parents when they hear about a substance abuse their child is likely into, is a denial “No, I won’t believe it, not my child”. Parents always believe that substance abuse is for other homes and not theirs. So when they suspect or hear that their child is into some substance abuse, they go into different stages of emotional turmoil before they can help their child
Stage I- The denial. They are not ready to accept the truth. One reason being that they trust their children a lot and they are sure of their parenting skills. Second reason being that most parents don’t want to go through the strenuous task of correcting and de-addicting their child if there is an addiction. When they confirm the truth they come to terms with reality with much grief. A few days of crying and emotions follow.
Stage 2 – The guilt “how could I let my child fall prey to drugs, where did I go wrong in my parenting, why didn’t I see it coming, how could I have been a better parent?”. They go into a “It’s all my fault” mode. They are then looking out for answers to their questions on their parenting breakdown. This takes them to the thought that parenting is a joint work between father, mother and the child. So one parent is no more willing to take the onus of the responsibility.
Stage 3 – The Blame Game. The mother is blamed for being career oriented or careless and not being available at home for the child. The mother inturn blames the father for not being a concerned and caring father. The child is blamed for not living unto the expectation of the parents and being a disobedient child. The child is held responsible for putting the parents to shame. It’s not just the household who is part of the issue the entire society becomes a part of it.
Stage 4- The Societal Constraint. The entire family is under the pressure of “what will people think of us and our child when they know he is doing drugs”. Sometimes parents don’t even take the child to a rehabilitation center for fear of society. How will the neighbours react? Will the school rusticate the child? Will he be quarantined? All these emotions become too much for the parents to handle
Stage 5 – The Pity. The “why me?” drama begins . A question that’s posed to the God almighty because the human declares herself/himself helpless.
While all these stages are going on in the family the child is still not getting the attention that he should be getting to bring his life back to normal. The question is where the parents initially when the child was going into abuse.
So then how do parents find out the symptoms of abuse early? A feature of the disease is that addicts will hide the truth of their use. It doesn’t mean he is a liar or morally flawed. His addiction requires this of him because the drugs become the most central thing in his life, taking priority over everything else, and so he has to do whatever he can to guard his continued use.

Symptoms to look out for in your child:
1. If your child isolates and is in the room with the door closed and sleeps at odd hours of the day while being up all night, you can assume that something is amiss.
2. If they have watery eyes, drooping shoulders and are not steady in walking something is improper.
3. If they are not able to give an eye contact.
4. If your child suddenly changed his group of friends into a new group.
5. Changes in appearance are common in teenagers as they struggle to find their own identities, but sudden, drastic Changes can be tell-tale signs that they’ve adopted a peer group whose values no longer mirror your own.
6. If you noticed money and other valuables missing from home.
7. Is the child being defiant at school?
8. If the academics of the child begun to suffer.
9. If the child is withdrawn from parents
10. Learn to distinguish between the voice of the addict persona and the true voice of your child. When the addiction is talking, don’t take any of it personally. The addiction is not accessible to reason or to love. It wants only one thing: more substances, more escape, less reality.

How can parents help? Stay tuned to the next part of this write up
Happy Parenting
Jaseena Backer
Parenting Consultant

Written by : Jaseena Backer

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