Hundreds of thousands of Americans who receive treatment for drug and alcohol addiction are parents. Although it can be torture to leave a child behind, parents who are about to enter rehab should think about the future. Once they get clean, they can start a brand new life with their child — free from the shackles of addiction. Here’s how to be a good parent when in rehab.
1. Talking to a Child Before Treatment
A parent who is about to enter rehab should explain to their child that they will be away for a while. Depending on the child’s age, the parent might want to explain that they are receiving treatment for addiction. However, they might not want to share these details with their child at all. Whatever they decide, it’s important that the parent explains that they are not going away for good, and this change in circumstances is only temporary.
“Although you’ll need to use different terms depending on the age of the child, you should always be honest about the problem,” says HuffPost. “Children have an innate ability to read when adults are lying. Explain that addiction is a disease caused by a number of factors, including genetics, environment and past trauma.”
2. Keep in Regular Contact
When a parent is in rehab, they will have good days and bad days, but it is important to maintain their relationship with their child throughout their treatment program. Depending on the policies of the treatment center, the parent should keep in contact with their child via phone, email, or mail.
Regular contact will not only provide the child with stability but give the parent a much-needed psychological boost during their treatment. Just hearing their child’s voice over the phone can be a motivating factor to complete a program and get clean.
It is also important that a parent maintains contact with the person (or people) looking after their child. Although the parent should make arrangements before they enter rehab, checking in on their child’s guardian will provide them with peace of mind. They can find out whether their child is doing their chores or homework on time, for example.
3. Choose a Facility That Allows Weekly Visits
A parent who sees their child as they progress through their treatment program will have something to look forward to while they are away from home. This will also allow them to continue with their parental responsibilities while they receive the help they need.
Serenity View encourages family contact if a parent makes good progress on their program. In fact, they could see their child (and up to four of their loved ones) on Sundays after they have completed five days of treatment.
“All Sunday visitors will attend our weekly education and support program, Family Forum, from 12.30-1 p.m.,” says Serenity View. This program will provide loved ones with the support they need while a parent receives treatment.
Parents who are going into rehab should follow the tips above. Talking to a child before treatment, keeping in regular contact, and choosing a facility that allows weekly visits will not only provide a child with much-needed support, but give the parent a psychological boost while they are away from home. Click here to find out more about Serenity View.