You once felt like you had the perfect family. After all, you couldn't ask for a better spouse or a more perfect kid. Unfortunately, that was all before addiction took over your child's life, and you now find that their struggles with drug abuse have begun to erode your rock solid marriage. When one member of the family struggles with addiction, it affects everyone. However, you can prevent your child's addictive behaviors from leading to divorce by using these tips to stick to your vow to always put your marriage first.
Prioritize Your Marriage
Parents with children who struggle with addiction or other mental health disorders often spend large amounts of time talking about their issues. However, this often breeds negativity that seeps into the marriage that makes it harder to recognize all of the things that are going right. Set aside a specific amount of time each week when you and your spouse agree to focus solely on your marriage. During this time, you may go to marriage and family counseling, enjoy a date or just talk about any other topic that does not pertain to your kid so that you can renew your bond.
Agree Upon Defined Limits
Discord in a marriage often occurs when parents disagree on how to handle the challenges that occur while dealing with addiction. For instance, one spouse may be willing to loan money to their kid while the other fears that any funds provided will go to fueling their addiction. In marriage counseling sessions, you can set limits together with your spouse that end the disharmony since both of you will be on the same page regarding discipline and privileges.
Work Through Individual Issues
When a parent has a child with addiction, it is common for them to experience emotions such as guilt, anger or even grief for the child that they feel they have lost. In some instances, dealing with a current addiction in the family could revive past childhood issues if one of you grew up in a household with a parent or sibling that battled addiction. Alternatively, you may be in recovery yourself and find that the current situation places you at risk for a relapse. Both you and your spouse may need to work through personal issues in individual therapy sessions so that you can be stronger when you come together as a couple.
No one expects their child to grow up with an addiction, and it is only natural to want to provide them with all of the support they need to recover. However, your marriage may need some serious work in the meantime to ensure that you keep it together until your kid begins to do better. By prioritizing your marriage and knowing when to seek help with your issues in counseling, you can look forward to presenting a united front as parents that gives your family the best chances for a brighter future.