Guide: How to support youth who have addicted parents

Support youth who have addicted parents

The Winter 2020 issue of Represent offers deep looks into all the ways a parent’s substance abuse affects a child.

The author of Three Generations of Substance Abuse thought her family would be fine once her mother got back from rehab and she herself returned from two years in care. But a person in recovery may not be ready to parent a teenager, as therapist Naomi Weinstein points out in her great interview.

K.G. gives us three stories that show a child’s determination to fix her mother’s drinking and then how she recalibrates after she realizes she can’t. She also offers workers very specific strategies for getting a youth to open up and for explaining foster care, addiction, and rehab to teens.

We created a special guide for counselors, therapists, and youth workers who work individually with kids whose parents struggle with addiction. The packet includes Represent writer K.G.’s three stories, a lesson plan, a self-care plan activity, and some reflection questions for the adult.  We have also created group activities to use with the stories “Taking Care of Me” and “Forgive, Not Forget.”

Parental addiction provides unique but sadly not rare challenges. We hope these stories and resources help youth cope with that frightening volatility and helps adults provide stability and care.

Youth Comm Reporter Youth Comm

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