Dealing with children in any area can be a hard task, so it is not difficult to understand how hard it is to deal with a child who suffers from an addiction, whatever that might be. However, there are a range of things which can be done to help. As with most things in children many factors account for their addiction (age, gender, socio-economic background) however, whatever their issues, there are a general range of things which as a parent, guardian, relative or friend you can provide.
Addiction in children usually results from a lack of stability, most commonly in the home or at school. Substances such as cigarettes and alcohol provide a way to escape from the problems of everyday life and enable children to feel confident and cool. Therefore, one of the first things to do is to provide a child with stable surroundings. To ensure them that the home they come home to is one where they can feel safe and secure. Moreover, to provide affection can be (although not easy) a huge assist in helping recovery as it make a child feel loved and reduces their need to look for comfort from other sources.
In providing a stable environment you can also help by giving a child attention and credit where attention and credit are due. Sometimes help with homework, or acknowledgment when they have done well in an area, or watching sports or other activities they are involved in, assists in boosting their self-confidence in their abilities. If they feel complete in what they are already doing the need they feel to find it somewhere else (such as addictive substances) is reduced
Young people are at an uneasy time in their life, with all the physical, mental and emotional changes which are going on. The media and peer pressure give the impression that certain substances help deal with these changes by making you feel better. However sometimes having someone to talk to, someone who they can discuss all their insecurities and worries is what is really needed. Having a relationship with a person who they can talk to and discuss all their issues can be key to helping them. In doing so you can discover what truly bothers them and find a way to move forward in resolving those issues without the help of addictive substances.
One of the most effective ways to help with addiction – particularly in children – is by helping them channel their addiction in a new direction. A new focus, whether it be starting a sport they have never played, or getting involved in a club or society, or any other interesting opportunity which will keep them active can be useful. In doing this a child will be keep occupied in fun and healthy manner and help them to take their mind off whatever they have been addicted to.
New hobbies brings new people. It is a sad fact that a factor in addiction is association with the wrong people. New activities will give children the chance to make new friendship groups away from the ones which were most likely the source of their addiction. By no longer having the friends who encouraged them in addictive behavior the incentive and the supply is significantly removed.
Dealing with addiction in children is a sensitive topic which demands sensitivity in finding a resolution. However simple changes to a child’s situation at home and in school can make a big difference. Providing a stable environment, talking to them about what bothers them, and encouraging them to look for new and exciting hobbies to get involved in and meeting new people, are a sure start to helping a child with addiction.