Top Ten Ways to Support Your Child’s Recovery

You have just gone through the battle of fighting active addiction and your kid has decided to get clean and sober. We have compiled a list from various parents of the top ten ways they were able to support their child’s recovery.


  1. Attend a support group, immediately!  Our experience has shown that parents need someone to talk to.  Finding your own support system is crucial in your child’s early recovery as it gives you an outlet to process your feelings.
  2. Don’t drink or use in front of your loved one in early sobriety.  This is not forever and is a beneficial way to show solidarity.  Not only is it the best way to eliminate triggers and stressors to drink and use, but also it lets your loved one know that you understand what they are going through and you’re on their team.
  3. Lock up any and all medications in the home, including alcohol in early sobriety.  See # 2!
  4. If your son or daughter is living in a recovery facility, make sure you learn all their particular Do’s and Don’ts.  Be supportive.  Defer to them before answering questions or making promises to your child.  If they place your child on restriction, don’t make a fuss, especially not in front of your child.  Your child needs to view you as someone who stands strong instead of someone they can continue to manipulate.  As soon as they notice you might be unhappy with this new solution you’ve found for them, they’ll drive a wedge and you’ll be back at square one. Learn how to be a partner at all times in the direction of their recovery.
  5. Save the past for the right time and use healthy communication in the NOW.  Now newly in recovery, your child may be going through an emotionally challenging process.  Before discussing past events or situations, allow them to gain more clarity and become emotionally mature.    Communicate in a compassionate way while maintaining healthy boundaries.
  6. Don’t invite over your child’s old using friends.  Change is hard and uncomfortable.  We all want our kids to be happy however having the old gang over to hang out can be a dangerous trigger for a child who is trying to learn how to live drug and alcohol free.
  7. Limit your son or daughters outside commitments.  Let your child build a foundation in his/her recovery first.  Outside commitments may distract them in early sobriety and can lead to relapse.  School, jobs and other commitments carry a level of stress and are best set a side for a little while.  
  8. Don’t try to buy your child’s sobriety.  It can be tempting to want to surprise them with a special treat, but hold back, many parents have used money and presents as a way to coerce or coddle.  Spending a lot of money on new clothes, cars or possessions in your child’s early recovery does not help everyone “make it through.”  When the momentary high from the moment wears off, the truth is still there.   Keeping presents to the appropriate occasion is also a healthy practice in combating co-dependency.
  9. Do not enable negative behavior regardless of whether your child is drinking or not.  Newly sober doesn’t mean that you have to walk on eggshells around your child.  Just because Jonny is in recovery doesn’t mean he is allowed to put holes in the walls, sleep in ‘til noon or tell everyone to “f-ck off.” Enabling negative behavior will never help an individual change for the better, period.
  10. Understand there are going to be rough days.  This is a practice of daily living.  Some days are rougher than others but everything will shift when you keep your mind on the big picture – recovery – it’s worth it.
  • Robin Hilton-Folk
    Posted at 16:53h, 16 April Reply

    I LOVE THIS ARTICLE! It is a wealth of information for parents, family members or anyone who is supporting someone in recovery. Often, the “normie” doesn’t understand addiction, therefore we do not always know how to best support the alcoholic and to have healthy boundaries. The information provided is a parents road map to recovery and is very instrumental and educational! I think the “Top Ten Ways to Support Your Child’s Recovery” should be published (perhaps in multiple languages and sold around the world. In addition, it would be a useful handout for new parents as their son or daughter comes to New Life. Speaking from my own experience as a parent of children who suffer from addiction, I was a large part of the problem and I got in the way of my child’s recovery. Heightening awareness and educating the parents is “KEY” to their child’s recovery.

    • Martha
      Posted at 10:33h, 26 April Reply

      Thanks for the feedback, Robin. I had to tap into what it was like when I first found out my son was using.

  • Janet T
    Posted at 13:29h, 21 April Reply

    This is a MUST READ for any parent! I really wish I had this from the beginning. It took A LOT of mistakes to learn even half of this stuff.

    • Martha
      Posted at 10:36h, 26 April Reply

      Janet, thanks for your reply. It helps other parents to know we’re not alone.

  • Caryl Anne
    Posted at 13:45h, 20 June Reply

    Excellent post! I love how you mentioned number ten. Even with all the support and love, there will be days that are rough. However, if you keep pushing through with the other mentioned tips of advice, these days will become fewer and far between great days. Thanks for sharing!

    • Martha
      Posted at 15:17h, 21 June Reply

      Thanks for the positive feedback, Caryl. Yes, number 10 – my favorite!

  • Ninah
    Posted at 16:47h, 20 July Reply

    My mother is an enabler and my brothers run rings around her. In the end I had to explain to her that she was the one letting them get away with what they do because there are no consequences. These brothers are late teens and early 20s and will do it forever. The worst thing is she has already seen the results in our 32 year old brother who has a record, has used and holds no responsibility, even now.
    I believe time is more precious than money and would much rather go camping with my child and chill than buy them stuff. Let’s hope I never have to use your advice with my own kids but I read this post because we live in an area that has high drug abuse and my eldest is a teen in a few months.

  • Tony H
    Posted at 16:27h, 24 July Reply

    I would do absolutely anything for my children, to see them healthy and happy but sometimes even we don’t know what that “anything” has to be to help them. That is where people like you come in and I am and always will be very greatful for your guidance and tips on dealing with addiction.

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