Relationships in Recovery - Addiction Recovery

What Will Happen to My Children when I Enter Addiction Treatment?

Being a parent means making decisions that affect you and your children. Going to drug rehab will benefit you both. Learn more in our blog!

What Will Happen to My Children When I Enter Addiction Treatment?

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

August 11, 2022

The Edge Treatment Center

Having a parent leave for even a short amount of time can be hard for children, no matter their age.

This can be the biggest consideration when deciding whether to attend addiction treatment. However, choosing to better yourself by receiving drug rehab treatment can be one of the best decisions you make for your children.

It may be hard for your child to understand why this is happening. According to the National Library of Medicine, children of substance using parents are twice as likely to have substance use disorder (SUD) themselves when entering adulthood.

In the United States, 11% of children live in families where one or more of their parents struggle with SUD.

In general, SUD affects more than just the person who is struggling but also the family and friends close to them. However, it is important to note that children are resilient.

A lot of children who are living with parents struggling with SUD can still have positive outcomes as they continue to grow up, especially if their parent gets treatment. 

Will I Lose Custody of My Child for Attending Drug Treatment?

If you decide on treatment as the best route for you but are worried about losing custody of your children, you don't have to. As long as you make a plan for a safe and healthy environment your children can stay in while you are in treatment, you have little to worry about.

Start putting a plan in place as soon as possible. On the whole, if you ensure your children are cared for while you're away, simply attending treatment is not grounds for removing custody.

There are some extenuating circumstances that could cause you to lose custody of your child. For example, if your children have been neglected or abused as a result of your SUD, this may affect a court's decision on allowing you to keep custody. Each state has different child custody laws, and the best way to understand your state is to meet with a professional at your treatment center or a child custody lawyer. On the bright side, if this has not happened and you can find somewhere safe for your children to stay, then you can still have custody of them once you successfully complete treatment.

A Few Things to Consider Before You Leave

Once you have decided on the treatment center that's right for you, it is important to understand the next steps for your children. The first step is to consider people who can take care of your children while you are away. If the second parent is around, and you feel comfortable with children being with them, it is usually ideal to leave them with that parent.

If this is not the case, reach out to immediate family members who you trust and around whom your children feel safe.

If you don't have any family or friends around that you feel comfortable leaving your children with, ask for help from the rehab center that you have chosen. Some treatment centers offer childcare, while others may know of places nearby where your children can be cared for.

Consider whether you think you would do okay just being in outpatient rehab, in which case you can complete your hours while your children are at school or daycare, and you can come home in the evenings.

Another thing to consider is the disruptions your children will face while you are away and potentially being in a newer environment. To help ease this transition, some treatment centers have flexible visitor policies, and some centers have no visitor policies at all.

This is important to look into because you may want to make sure that your center allows visitors so you can see your children. 

Lastly, it may be beneficial for your children to attend individual or group therapy to discuss their feelings about you being gone and help them process this new change. At The Edge Treatment Center, we understand that drug addiction affects not only the person addicted but also the family members. Your children may need professional help understanding what's going on and working through any difficult emotions they may feel as a result.

Explaining Drug Rehab to Your Child

Children are often able to tell when something is going on with their parents. This is why it is important to be as honest as possible with age-appropriate language and explanations. The best place to start is to explain to your children that you are sick and need to go away for a little while to get better.

Very young children may not fully understand, but they still deserve to hear from you about what's happening. If you have older children, you can be even more honest and specific about why you are going away and talk to them about SUD.

It can be beneficial for your children to hear directly from you exactly what is going on because they may have already known there was a problem. You owning up to it and taking steps to recover sets a good example for them. Honesty and expressing a true desire to get better is the best way to set up a path for regaining trust once you've completed treatment.

Receive Effective Outpatient Addiction Treatment at the Edge Treatment Center

Worrying about what might happen to your children while you attend drug treatment can be stressful, and you may feel as though you have no options. There are ways to make sure your child is cared for while you get the help you need.

The Edge Treatment Center offers a stellar outpatient program, and our staff can help you navigate childcare while you recover. We offer resources for both the family members and the client who is struggling with substance abuse.

This can be one of the best investments you make for yourself and your children. Don't hesitate any longer; contact The Edge Treatment Center today.

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