Life Style

Parents facing their children’s addiction: “understanding is not accepting”

The cross : How to explain that a young person switches to addiction?

Muriel Lascaux: There is no typical profile or criteria indicating that such a family will be confronted with addictive behavior. There are, however, risk factors, including genetics, and family history. There are also individual factors: impulsiveness, anxiety, difficulty making friends… Some personalities are more vulnerable. But a reassuring environment, with relational quality, plays an essential role in preventing the evolution of occasional consumption into addiction.

→ ANALYSIS. Cannabis, cocaine or ecstasy: how to help our teenagers protect themselves from drugs

How do parents react when they find out their child is using drugs?

ML: Faced with their responsibility, they are invaded by disturbing emotions: a legitimate concern, potentially guilt for not having seen before and a feeling of helplessness. However, the adolescent consumes to regulate an emotional disorder. To accompany it, the parent must be able to manage his own emotions.

We have to get out of this dialogue of the deaf between parents who say: “It’s dangerous, we have to stop everything” and adolescents who retort: “It brings me pleasure, I don’t see the problem”. For them, the product is a means and not an end. They seek well-being. They smoke cannabis to relax, for example. At the start, there is never a will to destroy oneself.

Moreover, teenagers often arrange so that parents are brought to discover their consumption and ask for help, because they themselves do not succeed.

What attitude should parents adopt?

ML: They are often torn between two positions: letting things go, considering that the problem will be resolved with age (which is neither completely true nor completely false) or being repressive (preventing the young person from going out, suppressing their money of pocket, control its frequentations…).

The question is not to be lax or severe but to establish a constructive dialogue, a relationship of trust in order to try to understand, even before looking for solutions. To understand is not to accept and a framework and rules must be established. By seeking at all costs to annihilate the danger, we risk breaking the relationship and having no influence. A teenager listens better if he feels understood.

→ TESTIMONIALS. Cannabis, families testify

When and who should we consult?

ML: When the anxiety is too strong, when we can’t talk to the teenager or when the consequences of his consumption on his life are too important. The “young consumer consultations” are made for that. We can go there with the family or without the child, if he does not want to come. Sometimes, this is enough for parents to find in themselves the resources and skills to act.

For others, the path will be more difficult and it will be necessary to hold on for the long term. You have to not isolate yourself and take care of yourself so as not to burn out. Some parents find support in the circle of family or friends, others in a support group. It is important that they can breathe and take a step back.



– A movie : Everything to be happy?

In this touching documentary, Jérôme Adam, whose brother died of drug and alcohol addiction, compares his experience with that of relatives of dependent people. Screening dates in France on

→ CRITICAL. “Everything to be happy”, a singular film to talk about addictions

A book :

Video games, alcohol, cannabis. Prevent and support your teenager,

directed by doctor Olivier Phan,

Solar edition, 368 pages, €13.

Overview of the most common addictions in adolescence and advice for parents on the attitude to adopt.

The national portal Drugs info services is a mine of information on drugs and their effects (drug dictionary), on the means of detecting problematic consumption, with addresses for getting help. A chat allows you to chat live and the number 0800 23 13 13 receives anonymous and free calls 7 days a week, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Young consumer consultations

Led by addiction and adolescent professionals, the “young consumer consultations” (CJC), present in almost all French departments (400 throughout the territory), welcome young people aged 12 to 25 free of charge. and/or their parents to allow them to take stock of their consumption of cannabis and other illicit products, but also of tobacco, alcohol, video games, etc.

They take place in specialized centers for support and prevention in addictology (CSAPA), in adolescent centers and other reception points for young people.


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