An adult child who lives at home who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can be challenging for parents to deal with. It may be hard to imagine throwing out one’s own child but keeping the child at home can also bring strife and turmoil. Learn more about how to handle a child living at home with addiction and how best to support the child during this difficult time.
What to Do
Families can become divided over how best to handle a child with addiction. Neither choice of keeping a child in the home nor sending away is easy as a parent always worries about whether the child is safe and ok. Likewise, when a child remains in the home it can be equally exhausting and draining to deal with the issues which arise from addiction.
CRAFT at Work
CRAFT (Community Reinforcement and Family Training) principles helps guide families through the challenge of understanding addiction, children and housing. The main principles of CRAFT encourage family members to do the following:
- Reward non-use of drugs or alcohol (ranging from hugs to pizza to housing)
- Disengagement, removal of rewards and allowance for natural consequences when child uses drugs or alcohol (and not bailing out when child is arrested).
Humans respond well to rewards and are not likely to repeat a behavior if something of value is given for positive reinforcement. Using CRAFT principles, housing rewards are a way of reinforcing non use of drugs or alcohol.
Housing as Reward
The CRAFT principles work with housing by allowing a child to stay at home as a reward for good behavior (not using drugs or alcohol) and following rules. Housing can be used to support a loved one’s efforts to address the substance use problem even if limited use is occurring. Some key points to keep in mind when using CRAFT principles with a child include:
- Utilizing program for 8-12 weeks to see best results
- Not allowing home to become a safe place to use substances without consequences
- Finding addiction treatment options for the child and writing the places down
- Considering housing options with treatment (home, sober living, group home)
- Considering housing options if child does not accept help (local shelters, social services, community-based NGOs)
- Allowing child to make a choice and experience natural consequences of decisions
- Discussing housing options with the child in a calm, loving manner
- Supporting child who is working on addiction recovery, expressing gratitude and pride in accomplishments (positive reinforcement)
- Asking child to contribute money for housing
- Setting limits on what is tolerated to remain in the home
The overall goal is to remain flexible but remind the child housing is temporary and fluid. Though it may feel like more work on the part of the adults in charge, the long term gain for the child and family overall will be greater if everyone is on the same page.
Call us to find out how we can help your loved one through addiction. If you are struggling to cope with a loved one’s addiction, The Villa has treatment programs available to help.