Being a Better Parent in Recovery

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Now that you've put in the work and are well committed to your recovery journey, you're ready for the next step. You are ready to begin working toward righting past wrongs and becoming the best version of yourself. If you have children, this includes becoming a better parent in recovery. This can help repair and strengthen the relationship you have with your children. 

In many cases, familial substance misuse can lead to children feeling as if they can't depend on their parents. It can take a lot of work to regain their trust. This is a delicate healing process that can take time and patience, but don't lose faith: You can restore the bond you have with your children. 

This healing process can feel very daunting and overwhelming. At Pathways Recovery Center, we can offer guidance and support to parents embarking on this journey. 

Finding Perspective as a Parent in Recovery

Many people who struggle with addiction reach a point where they aren't able to see how their actions may have affected those around them. Even now that you're in recovery, you might not fully realize the impact your substance misuse had upon your children. It's easy to brush things off by assuming a child isn't old enough to understand or know that there is anything wrong. However, your children may have been paying closer attention and may have seen more than you realized. 

It can be incredibly painful to understand the true magnitude your actions could have had upon your child, but it is an important part of being a better parent in recovery. You have to understand the level of the damage so you can carefully begin repairing it. In order to do this, it is important to have a very honest and open conversation with your children. 

It is through this honest conversation that you'll be able to get a better perspective on where your children are in the healing process. 

Having an Open Conversation as a Parent in Recovery

Talking to your children about your past actions and your current recovery journey can be difficult. How this conversation should be carried out is really dependent upon the age of the child. Obviously, a young child will need things explained to them differently than a teenager would. It's important to use language that is age-appropriate. 

Consider working with a family therapist as you go about having this conversation with your child. They can help guide the discussion in a productive way. The therapist will also know what sort of questions to ask to get a better understanding of where your child is at. You will also have the chance to simply listen and take in the information. 

It is important that your children have an opportunity to ask you questions about your recovery journey. While these questions might be uncomfortable, they can help provide a better understanding. This can, in turn, help them to find the closure they need. At Pathways Recovery Center, we offer therapy services that can help with this healing journey between a parent and child. 

Regaining a Child's Trust as a Parent in Recovery

Your child may be feeling a number of complex emotions as they begin to process what they have learned about your recovery. They may be scared, angry, resentful, or hesitant to let you back in again. Whatever emotions they may be experiencing, don't try to force them to feel differently. Working through these emotions is a part of the healing journey. 

Just as you cannot force them to feel a certain way, you also can't force them to trust you again right away. Rebuilding trust takes time and consistent action. You can tell them that things are going to be different now, but it's important to actually follow through with actions to show that you're serious. One of the best things that you can do to begin the process of rebuilding trust is by showing how committed to your recovery you really are. 

If your child is old enough, consider telling them what specific steps you've taken to maintain your sobriety. Let them know the different ways that you've continued to work toward being a better version of yourself in recovery. The more they see how seriously you're taking your recovery journey, the more likely they will be to begin to trust you again. This will help them to see that you truly are there for them and want to be a better parent in recovery. 

Remember to continue to keep an open dialogue with your child as you go through your recovery journey. Check in with them to find out where they are at and see what they need from you. Be patient with them and allow them to heal on their own timeline. 

The bond between a parent and a child is one of the most important but most devastating bonds to break. Unfortunately, substance misuse can lead to damage between a parent and a child. But this doesn't mean that the relationship is damaged beyond repair. Now that you are in recovery, you can work toward being the person that your child needs you to be. It can take time to repair broken trust, but it is possible. At Pathways Recovery Center, we want to help you be the best version of yourself. We also want to help you work through relationship strains as you and your family continue to heal. Call us at (888) 771-0966 today to learn more. 

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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Pathways Recovery Center Believes That Anyone Suffering From Addiction Can Recover And Experience The Joy Of Life Again. Join Us In Fighting Addiction One Person At A Time.
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