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Helping Teens Affected by Parents’ Substance Use

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There are three rules kids grow up with if they live in a home where someone has a problem with alcohol and/or other substances: don’t talk, don’t trust, and don’t feel.

Teens make up part of the 8.7 million children in the U.S. age 17 or younger who live in a household with at least one parent suffering from a substance use disorder (SUD) in the past year.

Teens in this situation “should talk to someone, friends, other family members, teachers, school counselors, or other trusted adults. There are many avenues to get help. Teens need to know they’re not alone,” said Frances Harding, director of the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) in Washington, D.C.

Researchers, counselors, and program managers help teens resolve psychological issues by looking at personal stories and statistical data. They get this information from therapy sessions and teen substance use treatment programs.

“Children of parents with substance use issues are more likely to experience trauma and its effects, which include difficulties with concentration and learning, controlling physical and emotional responses to stress, and forming trusting relationships,” said Harding.

Harding indicated that it is critical for teens who live with a parent who has an SUD to learn how to talk to others about what happens at home. “These kids need support from other caring adults, whether that be at school, at places of worship, at after-school programs, or at work,” said Harding.

“There are three rules kids grow up with if they live in a home where someone has a problem with alcohol and/or other substance use disorders. The rules are ‘don’t talk,’ ‘don’t trust,’ and ‘don’t feel’…

If those are the rules, how can teens who have parents with substance use disorders find coping mechanisms, foster emotional wellness, and overall stay safe? Find out in the rest of the original article How to Help Teens Affected by Parents’ Substance Use at The Fix.

Helping Teens Affected by Parents’ Substance Use



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APA Reference
Guest Author, P. (2018). Helping Teens Affected by Parents’ Substance Use. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 22, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/blog/helping-teens-affected-by-parents-substance-use/
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.