top of page
  • Daniel Francis

Parent Power; Supporting Adult Children With Addcition

Based on this heartfelt video by Amber Hollingsworth where she addresses parents who find themselves ensnared by their adult child’s addiction. (411) Parenting Adult Children With Addiction - YouTube

As parents, we often take on responsibilities that our children should be handling, inadvertently becoming hostages to their struggles. We do not mean to do this, we are trying to help!

Driven by the fear of the unknown, a primal urge to control the situation and the crushing sense of your dream of a successful child fading each day, we strike out to make it better. We know love is the answer, we know compassion is required, so why does this not work? Why do I feel like I am going insane? Why are fear and anger the only things I feel?

Well, it is because our love for our children is Godly and cannot be separated. It is the story of the Prodigal Son, only, instead of seeing ourselves as the son, we are suffering into one day, finally, being able to act like the father.

So what did the father in that parable do that was so good? He let his son go! He let the world have its way with him. He "guarded his heart" from resentment, bitterness, and despair. He stayed spiritually ready for his son's return, and when he did return, he celebrated that.

What he did not do was track him down, offer ultimatums, chastise and condemn, or offer assistance after the inheritance was provided. He did not seek help for him, or make himself available if his son found trouble. He did not rescue him a single time. He let the suffering of real-world consequences do its work, and in this parable, the son returned home.

Here are some tips from Amber Hollingsworth, who I find to be a pragmatic teacher of the best thing to do. Please watch the video too, it is full of good advice and direction.

1. Acknowledge the Cycle

  • The Hostage Situation: Addiction can create a cycle where parents feel compelled to do everything for their child—financially, emotionally, and practically. This well-intentioned support, however, can inadvertently hinder their child’s growth. In addition, this effort is often returned as personal insults, threats, and disrespect. Oddly, it is the helping that creates the opportunity for the hurting.

  • The Missing Ingredients: By assuming all responsibilities, parents unintentionally deprive their child of two critical elements:

  • Self-Respect: When parents handle everything, their child misses out on the chance to build self-respect through personal achievements. Real recovery starts with REAL WORLD CONSEQUENCES.

  • Serotonin Boost: Serotonin, the brain’s “happy chemical,” is essential for recovery. Allowing their child to take responsibility contributes to serotonin production. They can build from small responsibilities to greater ones as they rebuild trust in themselves.

2. Backing Out Gradually

  • Stepping Up to the Plate: Amber suggests that parents gradually back out of managing all their child’s responsibilities. Encourage your child to step up, even if it feels uncomfortable initially.

  • Pride and Recovery: When your child accomplishes tasks independently, they experience a sense of pride. This feeling is crucial for their recovery journey.

3. Seeking Specialized Help

  • Young Adult Programs: If your child is a young adult and has never learned to take responsibility, consider seeking help from specialized programs. These programs teach young adults essential life skills.

  • Parents Letting Go: While the program guides your child, parents can start letting go, allowing their child to pick up the rope little by little.

4. Avoid Enabling

  • Equal Effort: Parents should avoid doing more than their child is doing. Overcompensating can inadvertently enable the addiction.

  • Next Steps: Amber encourages parents to watch the next video in the series, which delves deeper into enabling behaviors and how to break free from them.

Remember, as parents, we play a vital role in our child’s recovery. By empowering them to take responsibility, we contribute to their healing journey. 🌟🤝

For more resources and support, visit

12 views0 comments


bottom of page