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Yeah, you read that right: talking to your parents about their drug use can be pretty daunting. It’s usually the other way around. It can be difficult for concerned parents to approach children – at any age! – about their drug use. Imagine having to sit mom or dad down and tell them you don’t want them to do drugs anymore. That’s heartbreaking. If you find yourself in this situation, take a deep breath, and remember that you are coming from a place of love, even if your parents don’t see it that way. Here’s how you can talk to your parents about their drug use.

Write down what you want to say before you approach your parent or parents. It’s easier to say things from a place of caring when you can take the time to write them down. Write down specifically why you want them to stop using drugs. The more specific, the better. If you don’t show them how their behavior is impacting your life, and theirs, it will be more difficult to get them on board with seeking help.

When you have written everything down, ask your parents if you can talk to them about something important. Tell them you have written down some thoughts and you’d like to share them with your parents. Ask them to wait until you are done reading to say anything. It’s important that you are able to get it all off your chest.

After you finish reading your points to them, ask them if they have anything they want to say. You need to be prepared for a few scenarios here: they’ll want to talk more about their drug addiction and want you to help them; they’ll ignore your plea and carry on with their habits; they’ll feel insecure about themselves and might want to be alone, or they’ll act out in another way.

The truth is that addiction is hard at any age. It can be especially hard for a child to talk to their parents about their drug use, especially if the child is still living at home or needs the parent to continue to take care of them. Knowing how you feel is important and knowing how you are going to express those feelings can help you get through an already tough situation.

Understand that you can’t “fix” your parents. But you can offer them help and support and ask them what they would like to do to help themselves. It can be very powerful to hear a child ask a parent to give up drugs or to go into rehab; it can be equally difficult to actually do it.

It’s best to try to have this conversation with your parents with your siblings or anyone else that cares about your parents. Doing it alone doesn’t show the impact of their actions outside of your home. By bringing in their parents, or their brothers and sisters, you can show your parents just how much everyone cares about them and wants them to get better.