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7 Things a Parent Can Say to a Child Struggling with SUD

NEWS - 7 things parents can say

This is from Cathy Taughinbaugh's blog "Helping Parents Find Peace" on


As your kids grow they may forget what you said, but won’t forget how you made them feel. ~ Kevin Heath.

At times in my past, I have found myself wondering, “If I had said something different, maybe my kids would not have struggled with drugs or alcohol.”

I have to remind myself that addiction doesn’t discriminate. Some kids were given everything they needed and more. They still went on to have a drug or alcohol problem.

Nevertheless, our words can go a long to building self-esteem and empowering kids at any point in their life.

Parents have often asked me the question as to what to say to kids as they struggle to make sense of their life. Parents often feel that they are walking on eggshells. Their children have experienced a significant detour because of their drug and alcohol use. They may be struggling to get their life back on track, or they could be still in the midst of their use.

Parents so often hope they will say the golden words that will motivate their child to change when they are struggling.

Many parents hear there is nothing you can do to help your child. You need to detach and let go.

Studies have shown, however, that parents do have an influence. You can make a difference.

Let your child know when they are struggling with substances, that you are still there for them. You will be waiting for them when they are ready to cross the bridge to recovery. Your support can give them the inner strength that they need to start their life anew.

Here are some helpful things you can say when your child is struggling with drugs or alcohol. These seven messages would be wonderful for any child to hear.  

To read Cathy's 7 suggestions, click here.



In your comments, please show respect for each other and do not give advice. Please consider that your choice of words has the power to reduce stigma and change opinions (ie, "person struggling with substance use" vs. "addict", "use" vs. "abuse"...)