Talking to Children about a Parent’s Addiction

An astounding 28 million people are children of alcoholics. These kids are four times more likely to become an addict themselves, and yet as scary as those stats are, addiction isn’t being talked about in most homes. At Innovation360, we host the Betty Ford Center’s Five Star Kids Program which teaches children that “it’s not your fault” – your dad’s drug problem, the family’s breakup, your parents’ shaky relationship, your mother spiraling out of control.  Children are usually the first hurt and the last helped in the midst of the disease of addiction.  The Five Star Kid’s Program helps create the best possible opportunity for healing for the whole family. This is an invaluable program opportunity for children of addicts, but we still want to address the issue of why this disease isn’t being brought up in conversation at home?

In this article, Dr. David Sack, CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, has brought to light what parents, teachers, and other adults can say to children to explain this cunning disease. Click here to read how you can approach the subject of addiction and recovery with young kids who have been exposed to a very dark potentiality. We especially liked the Seven C’s of Addiction that children need to know:

    • I didn’t Cause it.
    • I can’t Cure it.
    • I can’t Control it.
    • I can Care for myself
    • By Communicating my feelings,
    • Making healthy Choices, and
    • by Celebrating myself.


We hope you found the article helpful. Remember, if you or a loved one struggles with addiction or mental health issues, reach out to us. We want to help you establish a healthy and fulfilling life – drug and alcohol free. Article Resource: David Sack, M.D. is board certified in psychiatry, addiction psychiatry and addiction medicine. He is CEO of Elements Behavioral Health, a network of mental health and addiction treatment centers. This article was written in the Huffington Post on 1/31/13: How to talk to a Child about a Parent’s Addiction. 

Written by Lauren Barnett, Dir. of Marketing