When one family member is struggling with addiction, our entire family system can be affected. We may be spending more time with our troubled teen than our other kids, which may create other issues for the kids not engaged in addictive behaviors. We may be spending a lot of time and energy focused on fixing our child while neglecting our relationship with our partner. We may also be neglecting our own health needs or other responsibilities. When we neglect to address the issues going on within the entire family unit, we might struggle with noticing change or any progress. Often due to the extremes of behavioral issues with our addicted teen, we let seemingly minor issues fall to the wayside. We might be opening the door to more issues down the road. We may also let our own mental and emotional health needs slip away, which can be incredibly damaging to our entire family. Fixing the family is about taking care of ourselves and connecting with all family members.
Changing Our Perspectives
When one family member has issues that are readily apparent and extreme, we might lose perspective on fixing the whole family. We might feel that if we fix the “problem” child or if our addicted child simply stops their behaviors, then all of the problems will go away. We need to realize that while our addicted family member may have the most urgent needs, the entire family may need to heal as well. Families and parents might feel like all of the problems going on within the family are due to one family member. We narrow our focus and energy to fixing this one person while neglecting the needs of ourselves and everyone else.
Other Siblings and Family Members
Family members within the household of an addicted person can take on unhealthy roles and carry other emotional issues due to the trauma within the household. Siblings, who are not engaging in problematic behaviors or addictions, may also be suffering silently or feeling neglected. Remember to take care of each person within the unit. Families struggling with an addiction may isolate themselves within the unit, attempting to find their way of fixing the problems of the family. Be sure to check-in with other kids in the home, as they may be suffering or having a difficult time coping with the family crisis of addiction.
Taking Care of Our Partners
When dealing with a troubled teen, parents may neglect the relationship with their partner. We need to remember to focus on our partner as well as our kids. When our relationship with our parenting partner begins to unravel or becomes strained, we might be setting our families up for failure. By taking time to nurture our relationships with our partners, we can be better able to manage the family unit. While we love our kids, we do not get the same kind of support from them that we may need to repair our household. Without a healthy relationship with our partner, we might struggle with our own emotions about the family crisis and feel alone in fixing the family.
Caring for Ourselves
We cannot repair our family unit if we are not taking care of our health and emotional wellness. We cannot force anyone else to change or behave differently, even our kids and partners. The only person that we can change is ourselves. If we neglect our own emotional needs or mental health issues, then we might be doing a disservice to our families. We might be denying our issues or afraid to confront the scars from our past. When other members of our family, including our partners, refuse to get help, we can at least continue to maintain our wellness and self-care. Navigating our fears or dealing with our struggles can help us increase our emotional intelligence to better manage our family. We need to confront our pain to heal from it.
Connecting With Other Parents
Attending group meetings or parent workshops hosted by treatment facilities can help us learn new skills in parenting to repair our families. We can also connect with other parents, who may be dealing with similar issues. We might be surprised that other parents have gone through similar struggles with their kids. We are not alone in our struggles and other people can support us through our challenges! When we focus on our wellness first, then we can focus on repairing our relationship with our partners, and finally our kids and entire family unit.
Fire Mountain understands that addiction can be disruptive to an entire family unit and can affect everyone. Fixing the family system involves more than just healing the addicted child or stopping the addictive behaviors. We may be neglecting the needs of other children, our partners, or most importantly, our own emotional health needs. By healing from any pain within our past and issues, we can begin to shift our focus back to our family. When we are neglecting the emotional weight of having a troubled teen on ourselves, our emotions may have a ripple effect on our entire family and how we approach the current crisis of addiction. Fire Mountain provides a variety of resources to families and parents, like podcasts and workshops, to help you repair your family unit. Call us today for more information at (303) 443-3343. There is hope for you and your family. Healing begins with you!