Enabling by Parents - A Harmful Pattern of Behavior

As the parent of an addict, you likely feel helpless when faced with your child’s struggles. Being unfamiliar with the disease of addiction, the behaviors you rely on to minimize any conflict or discomfort in your home are, sadly, likely doing more harm than good to your addicted child. Enabling behavior often forms as a means to quiet the protestations of your addicted loved one when they are in need of their substance of choice - you either provide the financial means for them to acquire the intoxicant or, if they are prescribed the drug in question, you dispense it directly to them. This coping method is inadvisable for a variety of reasons. Let’s go over a few of them together now.

First, by supplying your child with the funds necessary to fuel their habit, you are perpetuating their addiction and given them no reason to stop their substance abuse. While in the short term this behavior will prevent your child’s acting out, in the long term it prolongs the pain and suffering of both them and you as their addiction continues. This is beside the fact that every time your child uses their substance of choice, their life is in danger, especially if the substance is an illicit drug purchased on the street. This fact alone should dissuade you from continuing to provide the means for your child to continue their daily substance abuse.

While you may not be financially supporting your child’s habit, if they are living under your roof while using daily then you are still enabling their substance abuse. This is a very difficult position to be put in, but enabling your child is not the way to help them achieve sobriety. As agonizing as it may be, you should sit down with your child and explain to them that substance abuse is not permissible in your home, and unless they are going to discontinue their use they are going to have to find another place to live. Do not equivocate on this issue, as eliminating your home as an option for their residence so long as they continue using could very well spur them on to seek treatment and sobriety.

Enabling your child’s addiction is an easy trap for you to fall into as a parent, You want to minimize your child’s suffering, but given your unfamiliarity with the disease of addiction your instincts may not be serving yours or your child’s best interests. If you find yourself supplying the financial means for your child’s continued use, or condoning their using while they reside at your home, these are behaviors you should change as soon as possible. While it may be painful to cut your child off, it is in yours and their best interests to take these steps as it should spur them on to attempt sobriety. At Evolutions, we understand the toll your loved one’s addiction continues to take on your mental and emotional health, and we are here to help. Call our Admissions Counselors at 833-818-3031 so you are ready to get your child the help they need when the time comes.


Evolutions is a drug and alcohol rehabilitation center located in beautiful South Florida. Our holistic approach to addiction treatment centers around addressing and healing the underlying issues at the root of addiction, rather than merely medicating symptoms away.

Our treatment program includes individual and group-based therapy to help clients understand and manage their symptoms and emotions.

If you or a loved one is suffering from addiction, alcoholism, or any co-occurring disorders please call us at (833) 818-3031 or visit www.evolutionstreatment.com