When Your Adult Child Breaks Your Heart

Coping with mental illness, substance abuse, and the problems that tear families apart

The Emotional Toll of Parenting a Substance Abuser

A continued exploration of the impact of parenting a child with substance use disorder. Read More

Yep ... that about describes it

Yep ... that in my opinion about describes it for the child who was at heart a good kid ... now throw in mental disorders/illnesses that seem to go hand in hand with, and further complicate, addiction/substance abuse ... well, it gets complicated, difficult for me as a parent to understand/empathize with, handle. Sure it's easy enough to do the don't give money, don't be manipulated kinds of things ... it's just hard to take emotionally now and then.

Yes, it is very hard to see

Yes, it is very hard to see your child struggle so much, even when you do all the "right" things. It helps some parents to vent by talking to a counselor or to someone else who can empathize with them, such as a support group or a friend with similar problems or a sympathetic member of the clergy. When you bottle it up inside you, it can become too painful. As a psychiatrist, I know that these problems can be very troubling for parents.

Teen alcoholic

All of the articles I see on parenting a child with an addiction seem to want to bring peace to the parent. Where are the articles that say parents are both the nature and the nurture to children during their formative years and you reap what you sow.

Why do we not feel sorry for the abused child.

Where is the article condemning them for raising a child to be an alcoholic? Where was the parenting? Were they too busy working? What was more important than raising a health child? If they didn't want the kid, why have them (since before I was born we have had access to really good birth control).

I'm not the only one with parent like this. Most of the drunks I know drank long before they were legally able to do so and they did it while they lived with their parents.

Considering the amount of harm the neglectful parent has caused, some suffering may be in order. Half the drunks I know are on Food Stamps. Maybe the parents who did their job don't want to pay for the mistakes of the lazy parents (some are also on Social Security).
I think you should stop telling the parents of addicted children that it is not their fault. Would you tell someone who abused their child in any other way that it was OK. That you understand.
What message does this send to new parents. It tells them they don't have to be accountable.

Parents may have the right to play fast and loose with their own lives, but they should not have the right to do it with their childs.

Most parents do their best,

Most parents do their best, but some parents lead very dissolute lives and also neglect or abuse their children. This is why we have a protective services program in every state. But sometimes adult children are substance abusers even when their parents were not neglectful or abusive and neither were they substance abusers themselves. No parent is perfect, of course. With my book, I try to help parents who really did their best and yet their adult children have severe problems. Frankly speaking, most parents who are or were very bad parents will not read my book because they have already exonerated themselves in their own minds. It's the parents who truly did their best and are suffering because their adult children are so ill that are my primary audience. I hope this helps.

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Joel Young, M.D., who teaches psychiatry at Wayne State University, is the Medical Director of the Rochester Center for Behavioral Medicine, near Detroit.

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