When someone we love is using drugs or alcohol it can cause us a lot of worry. It might be that they use every day or occasionally but it really affects them when they do. Changes in behaviour can impact everyone in the family.
We might not feel that we are able to talk to the person we love about our worries around their drug or alcohol use, or feel that we have enough information to be able to understand and support them.
Sometimes, it can feel embarrassing to tell someone what's happening with your loved one’s drug use- as we might not want people to judge us. Or you might be worried that social services are going to get involved and think that you are a bad parent.
Drugs and alcohol can affect us all. Whether it’s our own or people we love using. Some of our young people might also be getting involved in drug dealing- and as a parent it can be really worrying trying to work out how to get them out of the situation without being harmed or arrested.
The first step you can take is to talk- break the cycle of feeling worried and embarrassed and work out what you would like to do next.
Developing healthy brains
Drug and alcohol issues make it difficult to enjoy normal family life.
To promote healthy brain development, children need time and attention from someone who is happy to play with them. And young people need supportive and positive relationships to help them develop life skills. These positive, nurturing interactions are known as 'serve and return’ and they really matter.
For example, when an infant or young child babbles, gestures, or cries, and an adult responds appropriately with eye contact, words, or a hug, connections are built in a child's brain that support the development of communication and social skills.