Helping children with drug problems

Tough Love

Many parents are paralyzed by fear and refuse to acknowledge what is going on before their very eyes. But our children need our strength to get out of their situation. So it all starts with a need to question ourselves.

Accepting the truth

Children don’t realize they’re destroying themselves when they get into drugs. Many parents try to ignore the problem through a sense of false pride. Because in accepting to look at it, they would also be accepting to see their own failings and shortcomings. They know the source of their child’s suffering. They feel guilty. Not looking is preferable to saying anything.

Faith is the antidote to fear

Fear makes us feel fragile, weak, powerless and useless… Fear creates more fear. Our children feel our fear. It’s obvious. We have to learn to exclude fear from our vocabulary. We have to have a dignified attitude and know that the human body is not just an object, it has an inner strength and this inner strength plays a very important role in everything… in all our family and social values, actions and decisions… We have to learn no longer to be afraid in any of life’s circumstances. We have to realize what faith is. Faith is certainty that God lives within you. If we know He’s within us, there’s nothing to fear anymore”

Yvonne Trubert

Some parents know their children started taking drugs when they were twelve. They let them do it. They say: “It’s like smoking; they’ll get bored of it in a while.” We wait for things to change, but they’re already caught in the trap. Waiting is cowardice; it’s a lack of love. Cowardice sometimes goes as far as giving them the money to buy drugs - “so they don’t steal it”. But they steal anyway. We prefer to deceive ourselves, but the only solution is to face the truth. To break the habit, children need their family’s help.

The honesty to question oneself

Children’s recovery depends on the parents’ honesty. When we’re honest about ourselves, we know our own faults and failings. Then we can better understand why the child has got into drugs. If we can’t see our mistakes, we can’t presume to see theirs and help them recover. Children sense everything. We need to be aware that each of our thoughts, each action has a real impact on other people. And on our children, above all. Ask yourself some key questions. What was our motive for having children? What does a home really mean to us? We have to understand our responsibilities to our children, to the family and to ourselves.

The courage to talk to each other

Family and friends can help if they know the cause of the problems. You have to have the courage to talk heart-to-heart with your child. You have to ask what’s going on. You can talk for one hour, two, even go away with them for a couple of days if necessary. It is vital that children can talk and express everything that they have to say. They may have a very different way of looking at life to ours. There are children who take drugs because they feel they aren’t meeting their parents’ expectations.

The root cause: lack of self-confidence

Children generally suffer from a lack of self-confidence. They need to be loved for who they are. The same types of children tend to fall into drug addiction: hypersensitive, emotional, introverted and extremely fragile. When they can’t cope, they run away from their own weaknesses, their own limits and their own strength. Very few people are naturally self-confident. Right from infancy, the upbringing we gave them conflicts with their own will. We say to them: “You’re too young, too stupid, you’re going to fail, you don’t know how to behave and your table manners are appalling”. And so we instill a whole load of negatives in their behavior. When they get to ten or twelve, children will want to show that there are things they’re good at, but when all other avenues are blocked, they move into self-destruction.

Learn to be real parents

There’s more to love than providing clothes, board and lodging. Total love involves firmness all the time. Addicts are always looking to test other people’s weaknesses to breaking point. It’s amazing how clever they are in finding the weak spot. Firmness means wanting the best thing for the other person at all times. If they’re permanently flirting with death, you’ve got to do what it takes to stop that. Some parents shut themselves up for eight days with their child to get him off drugs. If they go through what the child goes through, the child will understand. This is just an example, of course. Each case is different, everyone has a unique identity. But there are points in common: when children have felt a force, it invigorates them. They are nourished by this strength... which is itself nourished by faith.