Research tells us that children with parents dealing with alcohol or drug dependency can benefit tremendously from the positive adults in their lives who help and encourage them. You can be that adult. You can help grow healthy kids.
Rather than just watching at a distance, pondering what to do, or feeling helpless and sorry for a young girl or teenage boy who lives down the street, YOU CAN BE THE ONE to make a difference. Take Action. Reach out to a hurting child. Let a teenager know you are there.
"Kids don’t care about what we know, until they know how much we care,” says Jerry Moe, National Director of Children’s Programs at the Betty Ford Center. In small but consistent ways, sharing messages like “you are not alone,” “there are safe people who can help,” and “someone is on your side” can help bring clarity and hope to a child or teenager in need. When you talk with them, share your feelings and explain age appropriately your own frustrations and how you resolve them. Model what healthy living – and healthy thinking – looks like. In this way, you can help raise awareness of feelings, thought processes, and life skills that may not exist at home. Inspire these children to believe that they can create a healthy life and family for themselves when they become adults.
Join us in our efforts to be the VOICE for the CHILDREN,
and help break the cycle of addiction
through early intervention.
WAYS ADULTS CAN BE AVAILABLE
REASSURE: Offer reassuring messages to let them know you care and understand their situation. Keep your message focused on the needs of the child/teen – rather than on the problems of the parent. "I think I might be scared --and angry -- if I had to take care of my baby sister if my mother was passed out on the couch. Any time you want to talk or text, know you can contact me."
SPEND TIME: Make yourself available for quality time. 15 minutes worth of positive conversation at the mailbox is as valuable as working together to decorate the hall for a church event. Be present and available to help kids identify and express their feelings in healthy ways.
ENCOURAGE: Provide options for the child to talk with someone who is trained to help families deal with alcoholism/addiction: a teacher, school counselor, family pediatrician, a member of the clergy, or someone who provides services in the community.You can guide them toward educational support programs at school or in the community. You can inform them about Alateen. These programs will help them develop coping skills to deepen their innermost strength and resilience. Offer to help them to connect with these people or resources – then follow up.
MENTOR: Nurture a positive relationship that models healthy living, a healthy attitude, and safe options to respond to stressful situations. By respecting the child’s feelings, worries and dreams, and complimenting strengths and abilities, it can help broaden a child’s perspective and foster healthier ways to think and to approach the world.
TAKE ACTION. THE CHILD WHO NEEDS YOU IS WITHIN YOUR REACH,
JUST A SMILE OR COMPLIMENT AWAY.