A parent is supposed to be the person in your life who sets an example of how to live and guides you. What about when you have a parent who suffers from addiction or alcoholism? Dealing with this can cause a lot of difficult emotions in a child, including anger, resentment, confusion, and fear for the parent’s health. It can force a reversal of roles, with the child now put in the position of trying to save their parent from themselves, which is both unfair and scary.

Underage Children of Someone With Substance Abuse Issues

Underage children lack the ability to impose consequences on a mother or father who refuses to address their addiction or alcoholism. Their best bet is to tell an adult what is going on, and enlist their help in confronting the parent. If violence in the home is a risk or already ongoing, a trusted adult can help find alternatives to keep the kids safe, while exploring treatment options.

How Adult Children Can Confront a Parent 

Experts advise that when approaching a parent who has an addiction to drugs or alcohol, keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Only initiate the conversation when the person is sober
  • Emphasize that you care about them, and want to see them get help
  • Cite specific incidents in which their alcohol or drug-induced behavior was harmful to themselves or their children
  • Try to sound non-judgmental and focus on how a sober future is possible
  • Have information about treatment programs ready to show that help is available and can begin immediately


It’s not easy having a parent who abuses drugs and/or alcohol. Whether you are a teenager or have kids yourself, watching your parent sink into addiction or alcoholism is painful and confusing. Your parents are supposed to guide and protect you, not make you worry about them and if they are going to be alright. Alta Loma provides expert treatment for those who find that addiction or alcoholism has taken over their lives and need residential care to help set things right. Our outpatient and extended care programs help assimilate our patients back into a sober, controlled life that helps reestablish familial bonds that were lost. If you are a dad, or you know one who needs professional help escaping a life ruled by drugs or alcohol, call Alta Loma at (866) 457-3843 today to find out how we can help. Our structured support system is proven to guide individuals to a successful recovery.