Grandparents play a key role in a grandchild’s life. With the right kind of support, they can thrive and grow into adults who care about the legacy. When grandparents struggle with alcoholism, this can shift dynamics enormously. Some people are relatively young when they have grandchildren, which can put them at greater risk for addiction, in some cases. While intentions may be good, a grandparent with alcoholism can be dangerous (even toxic). Find some tips on how to support a loved one who is older than struggles with addiction and how to help them heal.
Know the Boundaries
With an older mother and father who struggle with addiction, they are likely not new to the game. They have probably suffered a long time, but it can be a new addiction brought on for various reasons. It is difficult to see them suffer after they raised you. You want your kids to have love and support from them but you are not getting it when they have an addiction. To set some healthy boundaries, it is difficult, but necessary to make sure:
- Grandparents do not see the children unless they are sober or clean
- They are not in the home under the influence
- They visit in public, not private
- They do not drink or use around kids
- You rescind privileges to visit the family if they are not following boundaries
Creating boundaries for parental behavior can be difficult as the roles feel reversed. Having them in place is essential for the safety of everyone involved. If the person addicted clients to their desire to drink, they are not allowed to be around the family. Be clear, be concise, but remind them you love them and want to do what is best for everyone involved.
When the children are around the grandparents, it is hard to know if they always follow the rules. To that end, it is important to educate the kids to know what is appropriate and what is not with grandparents. Grandchildren of people with addiction need to know the warning signs that include memory loss, blackouts, drinking alone, feeling hungover, and more importantly how to express those concerns. It is hard to do this because there may be enabling behaviors keeping that person from getting the help they need so telling a parent may result in nothing happening if they are not ready to face the reality for themselves, either. This puts little ones or young adults in a vulnerable position to play caretaker to a grandparent. Addiction can be generational so it is important to know the signs, reach out for help, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you need. Healing is available for all those involved if they choose to attend groups that support loved ones of those with addiction and find help.
The Last Resort believes in the power of finding healing in recovery at any age and stage of the game. There is no shame in reaching out for help now, even if you have struggled for decades. Whether it was six months, a year, or ten years, we help everyone identify their needs and goals so they can be sober and healthy again. Call us to find out more: 512-750-6750.