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My Teen Son is an Alcoholic. How Can I Help Him?

If you are living at home with a teen son who has become an alcoholic, you have many options for helping your child. Until your child is eighteen, you have guardianship powers and can make many medical decisions for him, and hospitals will recognize your decisions as long as they are made with good intentions.

There are a number of things you can try to help your teen. You can:

  1. 1. Talk to your son about the damage he is doing to his body. The last thing most kids want is to end up disabled or disfigured due to drug or alcohol use. Alcohol can damage your body, including your looks, so sometimes discussing the problem can be a good way to help your child stop drinking. If you fear the problem is more serious than a mild problem, try talking to your child and determining if he will try to stop. If your teen is under eighteen and is unwilling to listen to you, you do have the right to seek help for him.
  2. 2. Ask one of your child’s friends to talk to him about the problem if he won’t listen to you. Sometimes it is easier to accept that you have a problem if your friends tell you instead of your parents. Teens sometimes feel a lot of pressure from peers to drink, so a good influence can often make a big difference.
  3. 3. Seek an intervention with a professional intervention service or the school your teen attends. If your teen is eighteen, he is legally an adult, but you can still request an intervention. Teachers, peers, and counselors are usually more than helpful in these situations, and they will be willing to help get your teen the help he needs to get back to a normal school and home life.
  4. 4. Take your child to a rehabilitation center. If your child is under eighteen, you can rightfully check him into rehab, with or without his permission. You may want to wait until your child accepts the fact that he has a problem, but if he is already out of control, you can do what is necessary as a parent to make sure your teen gets help.
  5. 5. Take your child to a medical provider who can discuss your addiction treatment options and make your teen aware of the problem without seeming critical or judgmental. A medical provider will not be biased and will have the knowledge to discuss your child’s options. Your teen might be worried about missing school, not seeing friends, or being judged by others at a clinic. Talking with a doctor may alleviate some or all of these fears, and if your teen wants help, the doctor can present options and refer you to a service you can all agree on. Working with a medical provider will also put your teen in charge of his own health, and when a child feels out of control, this can be something he will appreciate.
  6. 6. Eliminate alcohol in your home. This is one of the major issues that parents tend to overlook. If you have alcohol in your home that is causing a problem, get rid of it. You may be able to control your drinking habits, but your child is at a stage where he cannot. To avoid temptation, remove alcohol from the home-don’t just lock it up. Limited availability will make the substance harder to get, and when your child is unable to get the alcohol, his drinking may stop.
  7. 7. Set a good example. If you or others in your family drink heavily, now may be the time to quit. If you and your child can participate in a program together, this may help your son realize that he is not alone in seeking help. When you partner with your child to seek healthier life choices, it sets a good example and allows both of you to have a cheerleader in your corner that will help you stop drinking excessively. In the end, you’ll both be healthier and have a stronger parent-child bond.

No matter how bad things are now, you have plenty of choices that can lead to a better path. Take the first step and talk to your child, and you will be able to better understand what to do from there. If you’ve determined it’s time for inpatient residential treatment and what to research your options, call our 24/7 hotline, tollfree at .

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