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How to Parent After Addiction


For many parents, recovery is a time of new beginnings, healthier family dynamics and a brighter tomorrow, no matter what challenges your family has faced in the past. Research has shown that addiction affects children in many ways and that effective parenting is one of the most crucial influences on healthy child development.

If you’re a parent in recovery ready to maintain your sobriety and improve your relationship with your child, this article will provide tips for how to parent after addiction. 

Parenting Tips for Parents in Recovery 

Because children of drug- or alcohol-addicted parents are at a higher risk for developing negative emotional and behavioral patterns, it’s essential for parents in recovery to learn helpful techniques for coping. These include:

  • Talking to your children. When you talk to your child about your addiction, it’s important to emphasize that they are not at fault. Take ownership of your addiction so that you and your family can move forward. 
  • Encouraging the expression of feelings. When you express emotions, you can accept them and move on. Encouraging your children to voice their emotions is beneficial for the same reasons. 
  • Allowing time to heal negative emotions. Remember that both you and your child’s healing will take time — and that’s OK. 
  • Practicing self-care. When you take care of yourself, your children can learn how to care for themselves, too. Practicing self-care can include meditating, going to the gym, eating well and practicing good hygiene. 
  • Being present with family members. One of the best things you can do as a parent in recovery to move forward and improve relationships with your children is to simply be there for them. 
  • Bonding through new experiences. Parenting after addiction can be fun and involve activities that help your child feel “normal.” These include playing at the park, going for hikes or engaging in art projects. 

Addiction and Parenting: Explaining Addiction to a Young Child

If you’re struggling to explain your substance use disorder to a child, words such as “hook,” “stuck” and “trapped” work well to help children grasp the meaning of substance abuse. Examples include:

  • Daddy’s addiction is like a fish on a hook.
  • Mommy’s addiction is like gum stuck in your hair.
  • Daddy’s addiction is like a bear in a trap.

Other Considerations for Rebuilding a Sense of Family Through Recovery 

Know that rebuilding a sense of family through recovery is a process — it will take time and continued efforts. Parenting tips for parents in recovery include: 

  • Knowing that things can’t always go back to how they were.
  • Remembering that it’s progress, not perfection.
  • Saying you’re sorry and showing your family you are trying to change.
  • Forgiving yourself.

Move Forward From Addiction at MedMark Treatment Centers 

If you’re a parent battling addiction and want to introduce healing into you and your children’s lives, reach out to MedMark for help. We specialize in medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for opioid use disorder and can help you live a more fulfilling life free from addiction.

Schedule an intake appointment by calling 866-840-6658 or contact us using our online form today

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