Parents understandably want to be their children’s biggest advocates. When a child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction hangs in the balance, that’s never truer. During rehab especially, that natural parental impulse to do anything to help can kick into overdrive. A well-meaning effort to support a child’s recovery, often amplified by a sense of guilt or responsibility for that child’s substance abuse, can feed a strong “over-parenting” reflex to save a child.
“Helicopter parenting” is the term clinical psychologists have attached to this phenomenon. It’s a fitting way to describe unhealthy parental hovering over a child’s every move: like pilots at the controls of a Black Hawk military aircraft, some parents at the first signs of a threat launch a full-scale air assault or swoop in and deploy a quick getaway for their child. And parents of children in rehab are especially vulnerable to this form of parenting, because they know their child’s risks of relapse pose harmful and potentially life-threatening consequences.
But what parents of children in rehab also need to know is that an “interminable ‘swoosh-swoosh-swoosh’” over their child’s every move can pose even greater dangers to that child’s recovery from drug or alcohol addiction. Knowing what these pitfalls to lasting sobriety are is key to boosting a child’s chances of success in rehab and beyond.
Helicopter Parenting and “Failure-to-Launch” Children
Helicopter parenting in rehab can result in the following dangers, all of which can account for a child’s failure to launch toward lasting freedom from drugs or alcohol: Continue reading