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How Do You Help Your Kid Without Enabling Him?

Last updated: Wednesday, 30, September 2020

Enabling an addict is inherently wrong, though very easy to get stuck doing if one is not careful. Addiction is a twisted disease and an evil plague, and it can seriously affect parents of young adult children, teen children, or adolescent children who are afflicted with it. This is why drug addiction help tools are so necessary and needed for both parents and their kids alike.

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So what is enabling? Simply stated, to enable an addict is to help them out in their life in any way that would assist them to continue to be an addict. This is a tricky concept, so here are some examples. Basically, enabling an addict is providing them with assistance and in doing so keeping them further away from hitting rock bottom and realizing that they need to stop abusing drugs and alcohol. Here are some signs of enabling:

  • Giving your child money.
  • Providing your child with a place to sleep at night.
  • Giving your child a phone.
  • Giving your child food.
  • Giving your child water.
  • Giving your child clothing, possessions, or anything to use.
  • Giving your child items of value, even if they belong to your child.
  • Allowing your child to take advantage of you in any way.
  • Being around your child and providing them with anything that they ask for that is not immediately conducive to them getting help for an addiction.
  • Giving your child a ride to school or work.
  • Lending to your child the family car, your car, or a spare car.
  • Giving your child rent money.
  • Giving your child money to buy groceries.
  • Buying groceries for your child.

Now granted, doing all of the above may sound like the things that you are supposed to do as the parent. After all, you are the parent, and aren’t parents supposed to help their kids? Well yes, parents are most definitely supposed to help their kids, but parents are not supposed to enable their kids by any means at all.

The addiction science from the National Institute on Drug Abuse tells us that enabling is:

  • “When you help a drug or alcohol addict in any way you are enabling them.  Drug and alcohol addicts need to hit rock bottom so that they will realize the direction in which their life is headed and so that they will make the decision that it is time to throw in the towel and get help. When you pay for a meal for an addict, that’s one meal they don’t have to worry about, and they can instead worry about how they are going to get high again. When you let an addict stay in your home, that’s one less night on the street, and one more good night’s rest so that they can then tackle the task of finding more drugs the next day. Unfortunately, when it comes to addressing drug and alcohol addiction within the family, you have to apply a tough-love approach and that is putting it lightly.”


Marcel Gemme, DATS - Author

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Marcel Gemme has been helping people struggling with addiction for over 19 years. He first started as an intake counselor for a drug rehabilitation center in 2000. During his 5 years as an intake counselor, he helped many addicts get the treatment they needed. He also dealt with the families and friends of those people; he saw first-hand how much strain addiction puts on a family and how it can tear relationships apart. With drug and alcohol problems constantly on the rise in the United States and Canada, he decided to use the Internet as a way to educate and help many more people in both those countries. This was 15 years ago. Since then, Marcel has built two of the largest websites in the U.S. and Canada which reach and help millions of people each year. He is an author and a leader in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. His main focus is threefold: education, prevention and rehabilitation. To this day, he still strives to be at the forefront of technology in order to help more and more people. He is a Licensed Drug and Alcohol Treatment Specialist graduate with Honours of Stratford Career Institute. Marcel has also received a certificate from Harvard for completing a course entitled The Opioid Crisis in America and a certificate from The University of Adelaide for completing a course entitled AddictionX: Managing Addiction: A Framework for Succesful Treatment.