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3 Tips for Parents Who Have Children Struggling with Addiction

By Mormon.org
parents and son kneeling and embracing in grief

Hope and Healing through the Atonement of Jesus Christ

When children struggle with addiction, the path can be especially difficult and disheartening for parents. However, through the Atonement of Jesus Christ, there is hope and healing from the effects of addiction for both child and parent. There is no pain that we suffer, no struggle we face, no addiction so gripping that the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ can’t cover and heal. The Savior asks, “Have ye any that are sick among you … or that are afflicted in any manner? Bring them hither and I will heal them, for I have compassion upon you; my bowels are filled with mercy” (Book of Mormon, 3 Nephi 17:7).

In this video, Elder M. Russell Ballard teaches of the power of the Atonement of Jesus Christ to rescue and heal those struggling with addiction.

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Drawing on the strength of the Atonement of Jesus Christ, parents can use these three tips when assisting children struggling with addiction.

Communicate

Addictions thrive in secrecy and solitude. If you have a child struggling with addiction, open the line of communication and keep it active. Give your child a safe place to discuss the issue. Listen with an open mind and react appropriately. Avoid preaching or threatening, and respond with understanding rather than shock or disgust. Ask questions and provide support. Encourage your child to talk with an ecclesiastical leader or other professional if needed. With open communication, your child can find the strength to battle the addiction and find healing.

Support without Control

It’s difficult to watch children make choices that threaten their peace, happiness, and even their lives. However, as a parent, you cannot control your child’s choices or behavior. They have to choose to make changes for themselves. But there are things you can do. While you can’t control their behavior, you can control your response to their behavior. While you can’t control their desire to change, you can control your own choices, including turning to the Savior for support. While you can’t control their repentance process, you can control your forgiveness and understanding. As you identify the things within your control, you are better able to support them in the things within their control.

Love

Let your child know, no matter how serious the addiction, you love them. Help them understand that while you don’t condone the addictive behavior, your love is unfailing and unconditional. Additionally, help them understand that God the Father and Jesus Christ love them and offer them a way out of their addiction.

If you have a child struggling with addiction, here are a few additional resources for you to consider:

The gospel of Jesus Christ offers hope. We invite you to chat with a Mormon online today to discover how.