Supporting Parents: Practical Tips for Navigating Their Child’s Struggle with Substance Use

teen substance use

Discovering that your child is struggling with substance use can be an overwhelming and distressing experience for any parent. It is crucial to approach this situation with empathy, understanding, and a commitment to helping your child navigate their journey towards recovery.

In this article, we provide practical tips for parents whose kids are grappling with substance use. By implementing these strategies, parents can support their child’s recovery while taking care of their own well-being.

teen substance use

Educate Yourself

Knowledge is a powerful tool when it comes to understanding substance use. Educate yourself about the signs, symptoms, and effects of substance use disorders. Learn about different types of substances and the treatment options available. NIDA (National Institute on Drug Abuse) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) are reputable sources that provide reliable information on substance use disorders.

Practice Open and Honest Communication

Dr. Scott Anderson, a substance abuse counselor, emphasizes the importance of communication: “Parent-child communication is crucial when it comes to addressing substance use. Create a safe space where your child feels comfortable discussing their struggles and fears.”

Seek Professional Help

Recognize that substance use disorders are complex and often require professional intervention. Reach out to a substance abuse counselor, therapist, or addiction specialist who can provide guidance and support. These professionals can help assess the severity of the problem, develop a treatment plan, and offer resources for ongoing support.

Set Boundaries

Establish clear and firm boundaries with your child regarding their substance use. Consistently communicate your expectations and consequences while maintaining a compassionate approach. Boundaries can help reinforce accountability and provide structure within the recovery process.

Encourage Healthy Coping Mechanisms

Substance use often serves as a way to cope with underlying emotional or psychological issues. Encourage your child to explore healthier coping mechanisms such as therapy, exercise, mindfulness practices, and creative outlets. Fostering a supportive environment where alternative ways of dealing with stress and emotions are promoted can be beneficial for long-term recovery.

Practice Self-Care

Caring for a child struggling with substance use can take a toll on a parent’s well-being. Prioritize self-care to maintain your own physical and mental health. Engage in activities that bring you joy, seek support from friends or support groups, and consider counseling or therapy for yourself. Remember, you cannot pour from an empty cup.


Supporting a child through their struggle with substance use is a challenging journey for any parent. By educating yourself, fostering open communication, seeking professional help, setting boundaries, encouraging healthy coping mechanisms, and practicing self-care, you can be a source of strength and support for your child. Remember, recovery is a process that requires patience and understanding. With your unwavering love and commitment, you can make a positive difference in your child’s life.

Are you navigating the challenge of supporting a child with substance use? Equip yourself with the right tools and knowledge. Contact Roots Through Recovery today and become an anchor in your child’s healing process.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


“I am so grateful to be an alumni of Roots. Roots took me from my darkest of places, to the brightest and most beautiful part of life I've ever lived. They genuinely care about their clients. You will not be a number or a paycheck here. After discharging in February, I still receive help and words of wisdom whenever needed. Roots helped me battle things I'd been struggling with for over 14 years and finally put them behind me. I love roots with all my heart, and always will.”


“Just got 365 days sober today all thanks to these people at Roots. And saved my marriage.”


“It's great to see such a high quality of care program in Long Beach! The entire staff shows great care and compassion for their clients. The therapists are among the best around. Their admissions and case management is compassionate and driven to help you succeed! If your looking for help with trauma or substance abuse, this is the place for help!”


“Very serene setting, you feel right at home when you walk in. The staff are super nice and really care about their clients.”


“The most compassionate and knowledgeable staff! Roots Through Recovery offers the best addiction care and treatment available. They use multiple disciplines to cater to a wide variety of clients. Music therapy, art name it, Roots has it! Do yourself a kindness and check them out. You'll be glad you did.”