Rebuilding Trust: Navigating the Journey of Parenting a Young Adult in Addiction Recovery
As a parent, one of the most heart-wrenching experiences is seeing your child, no matter how old they are, suffer through addiction.
If they have started their addiction recovery journey, you might be feeling a sense of hope for the first time in a long time. However, that hope might be matched with some anxiety. Perhaps you’ve been here before only to see your child relapse. For many addicts, the recovery process takes time and multiple recovery attempts before becoming fully sober.
No matter how many times you have reached the recovery point, you and your child will need to work on rebuilding trust in each other.
Understanding the Impact of Trust
As a parent, you want to help your child recover, so you might continually check in on them, ask them where they have been, or if they have been using drugs or alcohol.
Your adult child may feel like these questions are an invasion of privacy or that you are treating them like a child. Because of this, they may lie about their drug or alcohol use and other issues surrounding their addiction. This cycle can severely impact the trust you have in each other.
Here are a few strategies you can use to start rebuilding trust:
- Be the force for change: If you haven’t already, you need to change your mindset to recognize that addiction is a disease that comes with setbacks and relapses. This can help you set aside any hard feelings you might have and support them unconditionally with love.
- Be humble: Your ideas of what’s right will not always match what your adult children want for their lives. Instead of trying to control their actions, shift into a humbler role of asking what they need from you to support them in recovery.
- Respect boundaries: We all need boundaries in relationships to feel comfortable and connected. If your son sets boundaries for you, respect these. This will go a long way in reestablishing the trust you have in each other.
Effective Communication Practices
As children transition into adulthood, the way they communicate with their parents also changes. They want to experience independence and may chafe at parent-child communication that is too frequent or demanding. While going through recovery, it’s important to maintain communication in a way that works for both parties.
Here are some tips to help you foster open and honest dialogues:
- Be an active listener: Focus more on listening to what your child is telling you rather than telling them what to do.
- Ask open-ended questions: To have more meaningful and effective conversations, try asking your child open-ended questions instead of yes-or-no questions.
- Treat them as an adult: Some adult children avoid conversations with their parents because they are afraid of being judged, lectured, or treated like children. Try to adjust your mindset and see your child as the adult they have become.
Patience and Consistency
The cornerstone of rebuilding a trusting relationship is patience. You will each need to take time to learn how to trust each other again. You will likely experience some setbacks but should maintain your commitment to being consistent and patient.
Create a Community of Honesty and Trust
If your young adult child is starting their recovery journey, you may want to keep them as close to you as possible. However, giving them independence can help them with their recovery process, while also rebuilding your trusting relationship.
One option is a sober living home like Ethos Recovery. We offer a structured program that can help your young adult son find the stability and support he needs to find lasting recovery.
Does your young adult son need a strong, supportive community to help him recover? Contact us today to speak to one of our caring recovery specialists.
Author – Chris Howard
Chris Howard is the Founder and Director of Ethos Recovery. He has a B.A. in Psychology from UCLA and has served as a community advocate/mentor for men and women in recovery since 2010.