The unconditional love a child has for their parent is unmatched. That is why rebuilding a relationship with your child after starting your recovery journey is important. You want to ensure that the people who love you unconditionally and support you through your journey also feel supported in theirs.
Children and Addiction
As parents, we don’t like to share the “bad stuff” with our kids because we think we are protecting them. The truth is, whether we know it or not, children are always watching and learning from our behavior. Even if they may not know exactly what is going on with you, they most likely recognize that something is wrong.
Children with parents who struggle with addiction often experience emotional, psychological, and physical effects. Acknowledging that you may have caused trauma in your child’s life can be a hard reality to accept. In order to start healing your relationship, you must acknowledge the role you played in damaging the relationship before you can begin rebuilding it. Helping to rebuild your relationship and re-establish trust is essential in breaking generational trauma.
A parent’s substance addiction can severely damage the respect a child has for their parent. Seeing your relationship with your child deteriorate because of the journey you’ve had can feel heartbreaking. You may feel like less of a parent or even like you let your child down. Luckily, there are ways to repair your relationship so that you and your child can rebuild and learn a new level of respect for each other.
It may be hard to see from a child’s perspective that their parent is still a human, growing through life, and can be subject to fall from time to time. Just as you’ve worked hard on your recovery, you will need to work hard to restore any relationships you may have damaged during your time in active addiction. Instead of shielding your child, be open and honest about who you are and what you’ve been through. Offer insight they did not previously have that may lead to understanding on a deeper level.
Redefining the Relationship
In order to move forward, you may have to accept letting the relationship go and building something new from scratch. After the journey you have had with your child, things may not be the way they once were. The relationship must grow and evolve, just as you did through your recovery journey. This is not something to be sad about but an opportunity to build something new and beautiful.
Spending Quality Time Together
Find things you both have in common to help you and your child build new memories together. It is good to hold on to memories of how your relationship once was if these memories make you happy. However, it’s important not to hold tightly to old traditions or hobbies that may trigger you or your child. You and your child are not the same people you once were when these old traditions took place.
Find new hobbies and make new traditions to support who you both are now. As you redefine yourself, you will also redefine your relationship, and finding new hobbies will help you bond in this new space.
Communication: Honesty and Transparency
When you honestly and compassionately communicate with your child about struggles, traumas, and triggers, you allow them to understand you and love you in a different way, perhaps the way you need to be loved. Be open and honest about what you’ve been through.
Listening is just as important. Your child may have suffered tremendously as a direct result of your addiction. You must humble yourself and listen with compassion. Be understanding of their pain and their triggers as well. When you allow your child to express their emotions without fear of your reaction, you will begin building trust.
Appreciation of Each Other
You and your child have gone through a lot to get where you are. Your journey to recovery may not have been easy, but you did it. It is something you should celebrate and share with those that love and support you.
However, you must also remember your child has been on a journey and should feel supported and loved. When you can take the ego out of your relationships, you can love unconditionally and support each other fully. Taking on a new perspective of your parent/child relationship will help you grow together in a loving and accepting atmosphere. It may take some time, but it is possible to repair your parent/child relationship with a lot of love, time, patience, and care.
Here at Renaissance Ranch Treatment Centers, we understand the importance of including family in the recovery process. It can be hard beginning a dialogue with your child about your addiction journey and the hurt you may have caused them along the way. Be open and give your child love and respect. Learn how you both can support each other in the healing process as you begin moving forward. However difficult it may be to include your child in this healing journey, it is essential, and there are ways to open communication. We believe recovery has a higher success rate when family members engage in the recovery process and encourage you to take full advantage of our clinical staff’s programs, treatments, and therapies available to all families. To learn more about the family programs we have here at Renaissance Ranch, contact us today at (801) 308-8898