Discussing Sobriety With Your Child

Black family on the couch. From left to right mother, daughter and father.

Publish date

Oct 22, 2021

Post Author

Healthy U Behavioral Health


Struggling with substance use involving alcohol or drugs is something that can happen at any age. Substance use can affect parents, children, or teens, but sobriety is a key aspect of leading a happy, positive, and healthy life. Keeping this in mind, it is essential to discuss the dangers of substances and the advantages of sobriety to your child in the correct manner.

Being a Role Model for Sobriety

You must convey the importance of sobriety to your child or teen at the right age and time. However important it may seem, though, it is still a difficult conversation to have with your child. Talking with your child about such topics requires you to be bold, gain their trust, and understand them.

Even when you think your child knows about the various risks associated with addiction or any other substance misuse, it is still essential that you serve as their role model. Make sure you conduct this conversation with them by stressing all the side effects one may have due to substance use, not only in the short-term but also in the long run.

If you or your spouse have had episodes of substance use in the past and your child has observed it since childhood, it gets all the more crucial to have this discussion.

5 Ways to Talk to Your Child About Addiction and Sobriety

Let us have a look at some great tactics you can adopt to communicate with your child about things you or a loved one may have gone through in a way they can understand.

1. Carry the Conversation From Scratch

Don’t assume that your children know about substance use and its effects on the mind and body. Discuss the various dangers of drug and alcohol abuse with your child, telling them that they can be a victim even if they attempt to be careful about it. Make sure they know that getting addicted is possible, even in the short term. It does not only occur when one drinks over time or uses drugs for a long period of time. In fact, for some children, it only takes a single instance of substance use to develop a substance use disorder.

2. Don’t Wait for the Right Time or the Right Age to Discuss It

Given the modern-day exposures and peer pressures, there is no sense to wait for the right age or right time. You never know when your kid will get introduced to drugs or substances by someone at school or elsewhere. It is better to prepare your child at an early stage to alert them to the possibility of such influences.

3. Don’t Shy Away From Speaking the Obvious 

Some parents shy away from using certain words like drugs, addiction, depression, etc. However, it is extremely important that you acknowledge these terms and concepts. If you don’t discuss the dangers of drugs and alcohol in clear terms or don’t warn them against getting under peer influence, it may be too late to explain things at later stages. Be open in your communication with them.

4. Don’t Scold Them (Even if You Know They Are Struggling With Substance Use)

You know that your child is struggling with substance use, and it is normal for any parent to get angry, but don’t shout at them. Doing so will only make them reluctant to trust in you and frustrated about being yelled at. They will not easily open up about their past, habits, struggles, or plans to treat themselves. Instead, sit with them and explain to them why it is wrong and then reveal to them that you are already aware of their substance use. This way, you can gain their trust first and then get them to share their experience with you.

5. Tell Them That They Don’t Have to Follow Suit 

Even if you or your spouse went through struggles with substance use at some point, your child or teen doesn’t have a reason to indulge in the same. Discuss the impact of their substance use on the whole family with them and make them realize what the family has gone through. If there have been scenarios involving trauma, grief, fear, domestic violence, abandonment, and any type of abuse that may have occurred, these are a good reminder for them to realize the negative impacts.

However, if you think you are failing at having a productive discussion or have failed to have such a discussion in the past, there is always another chance for seeking therapy for your child. There are detox centers, treatment facilities, and healthcare professionals out there that can help you and your child out.

Most of us are aware of the mental, emotional, and physical dangers of substance use. With that in mind, it’s easy to see why your child should stay away from these habits. Help save your child’s future by engaging in the right discussion in the right way. If you are wondering how to move forward with ensuring sobriety in your child due to what has happened in the past, getting external help is crucial. Trained professionals not only deal with parents every day, but they also know how to handle children of parents with a history of substance use. HealthyU is a safe place for you and your child to discuss sobriety and addiction with industry-reputed healthcare professionals. HealthyU offers dedicated outpatient programs for the correct type of treatment that fits your specific needs. If you are looking at normalizing your family discussions over sobriety, addiction, alcoholism, or substance misuse, feel free to call our representatives at (619) 542-9542.