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How to approach your son or daughter about their addiction

Encouraging Treatment: How to approach your son or daughter about their addiction

Seeing someone you love suffering from drug or alcohol abuse is very hard and upsetting to see.

As a parent, you will always have their best interests at heart so if they are in denial about their situation, you may feel powerless and helpless.

Though your son or daughter may need professional medical care, there are so many other ways that you can help them come to terms with their illness and seek the help they need and deserve.

Here at the Executive Rehab Guide, we are dedicated to helping those find the advice and support they need.

Talk to an addiction specialist today on 0808 1150 446, or live chat with us here.

So, if you, your son, daughter or loved one is suffering from alcohol- or drug-related problems, then we are here to help.

How to talk to an addict in denial:

Alcohol Detox: Symptoms, Treatment and Alcohol Withdrawal
Alcohol and drugs can ruin your life.

Approaching your son and daughter about their addiction can be very complicated, especially if they are in denial and struggling to come to terms with their problems themselves.

A large part of their denial may be the fear of upsetting or disappointing you as a parent. Many people suffering from substance abuse can feel guilty or ashamed.

They may also be ashamed due to culture, peer pressure and social expectation.

It is so important to show your undying love and support, in order to remind them that you are there and to encourage them to open up about their illness.

In the same way, you may be feeling shame or blaming yourself for their addiction. This is not the case at all.

Addiction is an illness – it isn’t their fault, and it isn’t yours.

Understanding how common denial is, and that you are not to blame, are important first steps.

Communication is key. Your support could give them the boost they need to seek help and begin their journey to recovery.

Here are some tips on how to approach your son or daughter about their addiction:

Remove all shame

One of the most common myths of addiction is that one has to ‘hit rock bottom’ before they know they need help.

Most people suffer in silence because they don’t think their condition is bad or severe enough.

This is not true at all and is such a common thought because there are so much shame and stigma surrounding alcohol and drug-related illnesses.

Addiction is nothing to be ashamed of

Cannabis is an illegal drug which can affect your mental health.When approaching your son or daughter, you must make this clear.

You need to make sure that you are not confrontational, and that you don’t shame them into treatment.

Shaming or being confrontational will not be successful, and is likely to make them retract from you.

They may also feel even more shame if they feel they have disappointed you.

These 3 things will help make the conversation as open as possible, and remove any feelings of confrontation:

  1. Use ‘I’ Statements
  • Using personal statements can help your son or daughter feel less confronted.
  • This will help prevent accusatory language.
  • You will be able to communicate your own feelings about the situation.
  1. Be as clear and specific as you can
  • Discuss specific behaviours, situations and events that can show the impact their addiction is having on them and the people around them.
  • Do not bombard them with a long list of incidents as this will feel confrontational.
  • See this as an opportunity to show them how their own addiction is stopping them from being happy.
  1. Ask them about their fears and desires
  • Ask your son or daughter what they want from life – their dreams and ambitions.
  • This will help them to recognise their illness as a barrier to those goals.
  • This can provide motivation to come to terms with their addiction and seek help.

See: Overcoming the common fears about rehab.

Consider the possibility of intervention

You may have already tried to approach your son or daughter without success, or you may be worried about approaching them in the first place.

In these cases, it can be possible to conduct an intervention.

A professional interventionalist can help you plan an intervention to help them come to terms with their illness and to provide support for you too.

Here are 5 do’s and don’ts for parents of addicted adults:


  • Set boundaries.
  • Invite open communication. Let them know you are there for them.
  • Address the illness and the behaviour, not the person. It is not their fault.
  • Offer to look at treatment options with them.
  • Make sure to invest in your own recovery too. See family support programmes.


  • Ignore them or their illness. It will not go away on its own.
  • Shame them about their choices.
  • Make a habit of lending them money.
  • Smother them. This can feel confrontational.
  • Do not ignore their thoughts, emotions and needs.

You are not alone

If your son or daughter is struggling with addiction, then do not suffer alone or in silence.

Call us today on 0808 1150 446.

More advice:

Last Updated on March 3, 2022 by