Parenting a Teen with Addiction: How Can Parents Regain Their Voice?

Parenting a Teen with Addiction: How Can Parents Regain Their Voice?

By: Cumberland Heights

teen with addictionIt is estimated that approximately 2 million children between the ages of 12 and 17 need treatment for substance abuse concerns. Teens and pre-teens have easier access to substances both in a physical sense and in a virtual sense, as the internet has also perpetuated substance-related activities. If you’re the parent of a teen with addiction, you’re going to find the struggle between ensuring their safety and opening up communication with them while also being firm and setting expectations.

It can be challenging to know what our teens need during this time, but CBS News suggests starting off with exactly what teens don’t need. Here are some parenting tips to avoid:

  1. Failing to tell your teen what you expect of them. Set the boundaries for your teen upon their return home so they know exactly what will and will not be tolerated.
  2. Ignoring your teen’s mental health issues. If you can tell they’re depressed, anxious or experience symptoms of a mental illness, make sure you take the steps necessary to get them additional help.
  3. Blaming yourself for their substance use. Stay focused on the present moment and the fact that your teen is recovering. Dwelling in the past will only hold you back.
  4. Setting a bad example. If your teen is recovering from alcohol, you certainly don’t want to drink around them. Show your teen what sober living is really about – and how much fun it can be, too.
  5. Don’t be judgmental. Set some ground rules, but don’t jump to further conclusions about what your teen will or will not do after they’ve been in recovery. They need your guidance – but they also need your faith right now.

Your teen has been working hard in recovery, but this transition back home is going to take some time and effort too. Don’t rush the process. Stay open and communicate often. Learn more about your teen and rebuild a life of recovery with them, one step at a time.


Cumberland Heights is a nonprofit alcohol and drug-addiction treatment center located on the banks of the Cumberland river in Nashville, Tennessee. On a sprawling 177-acre campus, we are made up of 2 12-Step immersion campuses, 12 outpatient recovery centers and 4 sober living homes. We believe that each person has a unique story to tell – and that’s why we always put the patient first.

Call us today at 1-800-646-9998 to take the next step towards your happiness and health.

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