We are recognizing Children of Addiction Awareness Week, February 8 – 14 to help break the silence for children impacted by addiction. One in four children are impacted by parental addiction – and these children are more vulnerable to developing an addiction themselves.
The most important action an adult can take is providing caring and consistent support in a child’s life. Children need help learning how to deal with their emotions in a healthy way. Managing emotions is an important lifelong tool for everyone. Even when they cannot control what’s going on around them, children and teens can control themselves and their emotions.
The good news is, you don’t need to be an expert on substance use or addiction. Emphasize to children that addiction is a disease is the best first step. This helps to separate the parent from the parent’s behavior. Recognize that treatment works and recovery is possible. People with chronic substance use disorders (SUD) can overcome their illness, regain their health and live productive lives. When an individual receives treatment for SUD, children and other family members often need help too. Your support can guide children to the counseling, support groups or other resources they need.
Check out these resources for children and families who have been affected by substance use:
New Vista offers children’s mental health services, learn more at https://www.newvista.org/mental-health/children/parents-caregivers
We encourage teens to locate an Alateen support group at https://kyal-anon.org/
Camp Mariposa, located in Irvine, KY is a monthly camp for children affected by substance use https://elunanetwork.org/camps-programs/camp-mariposa/
Friends and Family, Inc, is support group in Covington, KY for those with family members/friends in prison.
Youth.gov provides resources for youth with incarcerated parents.
For younger kids, Sesame Street created videos featuring a young girl talking about her mom’s addiction. https://sesamestreetincommunities.org/topics/parental-addiction/
The National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) provides resources about the impact of alcohol and substance use on children and families and resources to build resilience in children. https://nacoa.org/coa-awareness-week/
For more guidance on supporting a child with a family member struggling with addiction, read this article from National Public Radio.
If you are you or a loved one is struggling with substance use, call New Vista’s 24-Hour Helpline at 1.800.928.8000. We offer peer support, connection to resources, prenatal education through Kentucky Moms, residential and outpatient treatment, individual and group counseling, medication assisted recovery, case management and ongoing support for recovery. At New Vista, we see the good ahead in the lives of the clients and families we serve.