How Do I Care For My Kids During Addiction Treatment? A Parent’s Guide to Rehab
One of the biggest concerns parents have when considering going to drug rehab is how they will take care of their kids during treatment. If you are a parent who needs addiction help, finding a trusted caregiver for your children can be challenging. In addition, the simple thought of being away from your kids for a month or more in rehab can be terrifying.
These obstacles often make parents delay getting treatment until their addiction gets worse. The truth is, addiction has devastating impacts on everyone around it–even kids. Children who grow up in addicted households are more likely to struggle in school, have trouble discussing their emotions, develop mental health issues, and may even end up using drugs and alcohol themselves. As a parent suffering from addiction, it is vital that you get the help you need so you can be healthy for your children. There is no excuse valid enough to continue letting your addiction harm your kids. Here are various options on how to care for your kids during rehab while you get the help you need.
Options for Child Care During Drug Rehab
If you are considering an inpatient or residential treatment program, you may consider finding temporary child care during your stay in rehab. Allowing someone else to take care of your kids and your parenting responsibilities will allow you to focus completely on your individual recovery.
While children are a blessing, they can also be demanding, time-consuming, and stressful. If you have a significant other or loved one who can watch your kids during rehab, you are in a great situation. Many parents ask for help during rehab from their:
- Significant other
- Extended family
- Close friends
If you have someone you trust who can care for your children while you go to rehab, you’ll need to make all of the necessary preparations. Consider the following.
- Stocking the pantry with food for the children and their caregiver
- Leaving money or a credit card with the caregiver
- Writing down each child’s daily schedule
- Making a list of any medical needs, allergies, or medications
- Making a list of emergency contacts and doctor(s)
Completing these tasks will make it easier on your friend/family member while caring for your kids.
Although committing to an inpatient drug rehab program can seem scary, remember that you are allowed to have visitors during rehab. Your kids will be able to visit you, talk with you on the phone, and even write letters back and forth.
Outpatient Rehab Options for Parents
Unfortunately, not everyone has friends or family they trust enough to leave their kids with. If you are out of options for 24/7 childcare, you may consider an outpatient addiction treatment program that offers flexible schedules for parents. Outpatient options include:
- Day treatment or partial hospitalization program (PHP) – Attend treatment during the day for several hours Monday-Friday. PHP programs typically run during the same hours as school and daycare do, so you can send your kids to school or daycare during the hours you spend in rehab. Day treatment/PHP is similar to residential rehab, except you attend therapy during the day and return home in the evening.
- Intensive outpatient program (IOP) – IOPs often run in the mornings, afternoon, or evenings for 2-3 hours, 4-5 days a week. This is a more flexible treatment option than PHP as it requires fewer hours of your participation. You can easily hire a babysitter during therapy hours or schedule therapy while your kids are in school or daycare.
- Outpatient program (OP) – Outpatient is very similar to IOP except you only attend therapy sessions 2-3 days per week. This is best for people with mild addictions or those who have already completed a higher level of care.
All of these options can provide you with adequate, individualized addiction treatment while allowing you to continue caring for your kids.
Talking To Your Kids About Going to Rehab
Children are extremely perceptive to their parent’s emotions and needs. If something isn’t quite right in the home, the chances are your kids are already aware. As long as your child is old enough to understand, it is best to have an honest conversation with them about your addiction and your plans for treatment.
Explain to your kids that addiction is a chronic disease comparable to other health conditions that require intensive treatment. Let them know that you are not leaving them–you are taking some time away to get yourself healthy so you can be the best parent you can be. Make sure your child understands it is not their fault that you must take some time away for rehab–let them know you are doing this for them.
While talking to your kids about going to rehab, you should try and emphasize the “Seven C’s” of addiction.
- I didn’t cause it – let your kids know they played no role in the development of your addiction.
- I can’t cure it – explain that addiction is a disease that requires treatment and that you will be a better parent after treatment.
- I can’t control it – make sure your kids know they have no control over your well-being–only their own wellbeing.
- I can care for myself – promote self-love and confidence in your kids by teaching them healthy ways to cope and care for themselves
- I can communicate my feelings – allow your kids to let you know how they feel. Be sure to communicate the fact that you understand and value their feelings. Do not judge or reprimand them.
- I can make healthy choices – educate your child on the imminent risks and harms of substance abuse.
- I can celebrate myself – allow your kids to celebrate their successes and promote an atmosphere of self-appreciation.
Lastly, reassure your kids you are not leaving them. Show them pictures of the addiction treatment center, drive them by the facility, and even take them on a tour if you can! Let your kids know they are able to come to visit you and talk with you on the phone until you return home full-time.
Addiction Treatment for Parents in the Boston Area
Here at Woburn Addiction Treatment, we understand the unique challenges parents face when it comes to caring for the kids during rehab and seeking addiction treatment. We offer several flexible outpatient treatment options which allow parents to get sober without sacrificing any time away from their children. If you or a loved one are a parent struggling with addiction, don’t delay treatment any longer. Call now to see how we can help.