You know your teen or young adult is using drugs or alcohol. You may feel completely overwhelmed, even hopeless.  How will you help him?  Even with your rules in place and all of your love, your child is not responding to your pleas.

1. Use Your Power For Good

Take inventory of what you have, not what you don’t have.  Use these assets to influence. No one other than a parent can provide or take away parental support. Make it count!  Give up any support that would allow your addicted child to continue using drugs or alcohol.  You are their greatest role model.  If your child is living with you, model abstinence from alcohol and drugs yourself.  You may be accustomed to having a glass of wine responsibly at home, however, for a period of time, consider stopping.  Rid your home of all alcohol.  If there are people or things coming in to your home causing negative influence, you must eliminate them as well.  Make an effort to make have a healthy mind and body.

“Do what is necessary, then do what is possible, and suddenly you are doing the impossible.”
-St. Francis of Assisi.

2. Let Go

Do you have too much control over your child?  Perhaps, you are still “helping”  your teenager make decisions.  According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, wanting independence is one reason why teenagers use drugs and alcohol.  It’s a choice they are able to make with out you.  Your teen or young adult child may be desperate to make choices and decisions for himself.  (See blog Teenager and Parent Relationship).  Letting go also includes no longer saving your teen and, especially your young adult child, from failure or other let downs.   This too is a form of control over the child, and deprives him of the opportunity to learn perseverance and to gain independence.

3. Encouragement

Boredom and pleasure are two other reasons a teen uses drugs and alcohol. Encourage  healthy interests your son or daughter may have.  Become engaged and ask questions about their interest with out judgement.  Make suggestions to help inspire their passions, get excited.

Telling your child to stop using probably will not work. However, using parental strengths such as influence, powerlessness and inspiration could help your child make better decisions with more confidence.