I recently spoke with a mom who is having a hard time trusting her son, Kyle. Kyle is in his early twenties and he’s been struggling with meth use. He has had many relapses which has been frustrating for his mom.
Last spring, Kyle decided to stop using meth. He went through an outpatient program, got a job, and was even talking about going back to school. His mom was happy to see him doing so well.
Then Kyle asked his mom if he could borrow the car to see some friends. She was hesitant but agreed since he had been doing well. Kyle came back on time and stayed sober. He asked again the next weekend and things went well. The following week, he wanted to see some old friends from high school. His mom said yes, feeling more confident that he was doing better.
However, he didn’t come back home that night and when he returned the next day, Kyle’s mom knew he had been using meth again. She was very sad and disappointed to see him back on that path.
After a few more instances of drug use, Kyle agreed to go to an inpatient program. Now, he is ready to take the next step which is to live in a sober home. His mom is worried about Kyle’s future and wonders if he’ll stick to his recovery plan.
Are you able to relate?
Has your child had a hard time getting better from their problem?
Sending your child to get help is a big step that can make things better.
You won’t have to worry so much about not being able to trust your child.
It’s important when your child is ready to get help.
But there’s a day when your child, like Kyle, finishes getting help. They might come home, go to a special living place, or live by themselves. You might feel very worried as that day gets closer.
You might think about your child going back to their old ways, and feel scared and stressed.
So, how can you start to trust your child again after being let down in the past? Remember, your child needs to prove they can be trusted. It might take some time.
“When you trust yourself, you know how to live.” – Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
As a parent, you can help your child rebuild trust.
Here are five things to think about to have a good relationship with your child.
It may take a while to trust your child again. Don’t expect to regain your trust overnight, as it may take several months of positive behavior for you to feel comfortable trusting them again. Your child is also learning to trust themselves again.
Keep communication open.
Spending time with your child and having open conversations can help build trust. Positive communication helps with the change process, and recovery looks different for everyone. Ask open-ended questions to avoid defensiveness.
Let your child take the lead.
Try not to manage your child’s recovery. Allow them to take the lead and trust them to make healthy choices. Remember that past lying and bad habits served a purpose, and the change process provides an opportunity for your child to practice being truthful.
C.A.R.D. stands for credibility, accountability, responsibility, and dependability. By practicing these qualities, trust can start to be restored.
Don’t expect perfection.
Everyone makes mistakes, and with any change, there are many starts and stops. If your child makes a mistake, help them get back on track as soon as possible. Your child is bound to make mistakes, but with effort and time, things should begin to smooth out.
Find what your child is doing well.
Trust builds when you can see positive behavior. Recognizing positive behavior increases the chances of it happening again. Supporting your child’s actions through words or rewards can help build trust.
After four months in sober living, Kyle is doing well. His trust with his mother has continued to grow, and they are both seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.