Is there a child in your life who has a loved one that is experiencing addiction? It can be hard to know what to say, but here are some guidelines and resources. One easy thing is to memorize, repeat, and teach the 7 C’s as much as possible. Everyone learns through repetition. These mantras need to be heard often by children affected by addiction.
The 7 Cs are:
I didn’t CAUSE it. I can’t CURE it. I can’t CONTROL it.
I can CARE for myself by COMMUNICATING my feelings, making healthy CHOICES, and by CELEBRATING myself.Source: National Association for Children of Alcoholics, on-line at http://www.nacoa.org
Here are some other talking points to be used as age-appropriate:
- Addiction is a disease. Your loved one is not a bad person; he or she has a disease. Loved ones may do things that are mean or stupid when they drink too much or use drugs.
- You are not the reason your loved one drinks or uses drugs; you did not cause this disease and you cannot stop it.
- There are a lot of kids like you. In fact, there are millions of kids whose loved ones are addicted to drugs or alcohol; some are in your school. You are not alone.
- You can talk about the problem. You don’t have to feel scared or ashamed or embarrassed. Find someone you can trust. Most towns have groups of kids that meet and talk, such as “Alateen.” A counselor, teacher, foster parent or other adult you trust may be able to help you find one of these groups.
Wanna Deep Dive?
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics has a lot more information for families and professionals. https://nacoa.org/