Parents confront their children’s addiction: “Understanding is not acceptable”

Cross : How do we explain that a young man turns into an addiction?

Muriel Lascaux: There is no typical profile or criteria to indicate that this family will experience addictive behavior. However, there are risk factors, including genes and family history. There are also individual factors: impulsivity, anxiety, difficulty making friends … some personalities are more vulnerable. But a reassuring environment, with a relational quality, plays an essential role in preventing the development of accidental consumption into addiction.

→ analysis. Cannabis, cocaine or ecstasy: How we help teens protect themselves from drugs

How do parents react when they discover that their child is taking drugs?

ML: In the face of their responsibility, disturbing feelings invade them: legitimate anxiety, possible guilt for not seeing them before and a feeling of powerlessness. However, the adolescent consumes to regulate emotional disturbance. To accompany her, the parent must be able to manage his emotions.

We have to get out of this dialogue of the deaf between the parents who say: “It’s dangerous, we have to stop everything” And teens who respond: “I’m so happy, I don’t see a problem”. For them, the product is a means, not an end. They seek luxury. They smoke weed to relax, for example. In the beginning, there is no will to self-destruct.

Moreover, adolescents often arrange that parents are brought in to discover their consumption and seek help, because they themselves do not succeed.

What position should parents adopt?

ML: They are often torn between two attitudes: letting things go, bearing in mind that the problem will resolve with age (which is neither entirely right nor entirely wrong) or suppression (preventing the young man from going out, suppressing their money out of pocket, controlling their frequency…).

The question is not indolence or seriousness, but the establishment of a constructive dialogue, a relationship of trust in order to try to understand, even before looking for solutions. To understand is non-acceptance and a framework and rules must be established. By striving at all costs to eliminate the danger, we risk breaking off the relationship and not having an effect. A teen listens better if he feels understood.

→ Certificates. Cannabis, families witness

When and who should we consult?

ML: When the anxiety is too severe, when we can’t talk to the teen or when the consequences of its consumption on his life are very important. A “Young Consumer Consultation” is prepared for this. We can go there with family or without a child, if he doesn’t 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 continue in the long term. You must not isolate yourself and take care of yourself so that you do not burn. Some parents find support in a circle of family or friends, others in a support group. It is important that they can breathe and take a step back.



– Movie: Everything to be happy?

In this touching documentary, Jerome Adam, whose brother died of drug and alcohol addiction, compares his experience with that of relatives of dependents. Showtimes in France at

→ decisive. “Everything to Be Happy” is a unique movie about addiction

book :

Video games, alcohol, hashish. Prevent and support your teenAnd the

Directed by Dr. Oliver FanAnd the

Solar Edition, 368 pages, €13.

An overview of the most common addictions in adolescence and advice for parents about adoption.

National Gate Drug Information Services is a mine of information on medicines and their effects (Dictionary of Medicines), on means of detecting consumption problems, with addresses for help. Chat allows you to chat live and 0800 23 13 13 receives anonymous and free calls 7 days a week, from 8 am to 2 am.

Young Consumers Counseling

Led by addiction and adolescent specialists, Young Consumers Counseling (CJC), which is present in almost all French provinces (400 across the territory), welcomes young people aged 12-25 free of charge. and/or their parents to allow them to assess their consumption of cannabis and other illicit products, as well as of tobacco, alcohol, video games, etc.

It is carried out at Specialized Centers for Addiction Support and Prevention (CSAPA), at adolescent homes and other youth reception points.

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