Drug rehab provides enough challenges. Entering drug rehab while you have children at home adds an element of complexity to any rehabilitation situation. While you’re making a decision that will have a lasting positive impact on your relationship with your child, parents often feel conflicted about the period of time they will be away. Some residential facilities today are open to families staying for the duration of treatment. And nearly all permit visits from family, especially children, though you’ll want to check to see how often visits are permitted. One facility might limit visitors to once a week, while others are more flexible.
Another aspect of deciding when a child should visit you in drug rehab must come from you. Are you feeling ready to accept the feelings that will accompany a visit, are you feeling well enough, and are you prepared to be honest and forthright with your child?
There are few barriers to visits with children while you are in drug rehab, but there are some essential guidelines to help you better prepare for and make the most of those initial visits.
Being Honest With Your Child Promotes Healthy Coping Skills Later
While it can seem contrary to our instincts as parents, honesty about your situation, even if your child is young, is critical to your relationship. Being honest with your child about your situation can actually improve your child’s commitment to honesty. If you are in or entering drug rehab, many aspects of your life have already been in flux.
Even the youngest of children can feel the impact of stress associated with drug and alcohol use. Lying to a child, and making up excuses for why you’re in treatment or away from home does little to protect children. Instead, they learn to mask truths. Honesty promotes honesty and in turn, helps children understand they do not need to rely on lies or excuses in uncomfortable situations. This honesty can provide children with a strong foundation for solid coping skills as adults.
Scheduling Visits With Your Child While In Drug Rehab
Apart from a children’s program or family counseling, to schedule a visit with your child while in drug rehab, check with your counselor first. Your counselor will help you make a decision about when to schedule the first visit and can give you some idea of what to expect and how to answer some of the questions that will likely arise.
For some, this might be the first time the topic has ever been discussed openly and you may feel more comfortable involving your counselor. Apart from being honest at a level of understanding appropriate for your child’s age, it’s important to be prepared to apologize to your child for the impact using had on their lives. It’s equally important you are prepared to acknowledge and accept their feelings about the addiction. This is one critical step toward encouraging an ongoing dialogue between you and your child.
A child of a drug or alcohol addicted parent can sometimes feel isolated by their experience; often wondering why other kids aren’t going through the same thing. Helping your child understand that other children experience addiction and that they are not alone in these feelings can be hugely helpful in alleviating some of the alienation they might be experiencing at school.
Take responsibility for the addiction and let your child know it is not their fault. Children tend to internalize problems in the home and the turbulence generated by addiction can leave a child in distress, leading to feelings of anxiety and depression. Explaining how addiction happens and what it does to the brain is one part of helping them understand it is not something they could control or stop.
During these first visits, be prepared to:
- Be honest
- Answer questions about addiction
- Encourage openness
- Acknowledge and accept when your child tells you
- Keep conversation at a level that can be understood
- Let your child know they are not alone
- Let your child know it is not their fault
Children’s Programs For Children Of Drug Or Alcohol Addicted Parents
Programs for children are often available for free to parents in drug rehab. These programs help children understand addiction and allow them to process and openly discuss unresolved feelings surrounding the addiction.
Understanding Your Rights As A Parent While In Drug Rehab
Just because you’re in drug rehab, doesn’t mean you’re a bad or absent parent. It says the opposite. That you care enough about your child to make serious strides toward your recovery. Understanding your rights as a parent while in drug rehab, especially if you are dealing with a difficult custody arrangement involving another parent, may be necessary to ensure regular visits.
If your child is in temporary foster care or has an assigned caseworker, be sure to maintain contact with the facility or person caring for your child. Your child’s caseworker can be helpful in arranging visits as well as aiding you in navigating custody issues after you leave drug rehab.
I’ve Lost Custody Of My Child: Can My Child Still Visit Me In Rehab?
Even if you’ve lost custody of your child due to drug or alcohol abuse, typically courts will still permit parental visitations drug rehab. Depending on the situation, supervised visits may be required, but rarely are visits denied altogether.
What If My Child Is In Another State?
If financial restrictions inhibit visits with your child while in drug rehab, you can request a video chat with your child. Most facilities can accommodate this request, especially in an era of smart phones and other readily available technologies.
Families Are An Important Aspect Of Your Recovery
Your family will be there once you leave treatment and are a critical part of your your long-term recovery goals. While addiction may have torn your family apart, the recovery process can mend these wounds and promote a healthier, more stable dynamic than existed before the addiction. While it is sometimes hard to see the impact the addiction had on those you love, encouraging time with your child during drug rehab can provide you with a connection to your child and motivation to stay in recovery.
Get Help For Your Addiction
If you have children and are suffering with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, take that first step toward recovery for your sake and theirs. DrugRehab.org can connect you with the online resources, professional support, and treatment options that work for you and your family. Contact DrugRehab.org today and find the treatment for you.