Should Children Be Included in Interventions?

Should Children Be Included in Interventions?Including California children in a parent’s addiction intervention can be a difficult decision to make. In many cases, children play a significant role in the lives of an addicted parent. In instances where the addiction stems from stress and anxiety over trying to raise children, it would not be beneficial to include the child in the intervention. Many deciding factors depend on the age and maturity level of the child and his or her understanding of the disease of addiction. It can often be important to remind an addicted parent that his actions directly affect the futures of his children. Some of the positive aspects of including a child in a parent’s addiction intervention may include the following:

  • Hearing from children directly about how the addiction has negatively affected them can encourage a parent to accept treatment during an intervention.
  • Parents may decide to accept treatment for the sake of the child
  • Including a child in an intervention can help a parent take that first, difficult step towards getting into treatment

Regardless of any benefit to the parent, the child’s welfare must be taken into account first before deciding to involve him or her in an intervention. If witnessing an intervention will emotionally damage a child, it is best to protect the child from the negative emotions that may be triggered by participating in this event.

When California Children Should Not Be Included in an Addiction Intervention

While including a child in an intervention may sometimes be beneficial, there are also instances when children in California should not be included in these events. Children can be too young to understand the process of addiction and cause an intervention to lose focus. In many cases, addicted parents can become angry during an intervention and act out in a negative manner. Children who witness aggression in their parents can be emotionally damaged. Other children may have experienced past situations where the addicted parent lashed out at them or acted irrationally when confronted about his or her substance abuse, which may cause them to not want to participate in the intervention. The decision to include a child in an intervention must be done on a case-by-case basis. If the decision has been made to include a child in an addiction intervention, here are some helpful things to consider:

  • Have an in-depth discussion with the child prior to the event about what to expect from the intervention, what to say, and how the parent will potentially react and why
  • Prior to the event, write down and practice with the child what he wants to say during the intervention and when to say it
  • Designate someone to be responsible for removing and caring for the child if he or she becomes distressed during the intervention
  •  Ensure that the child understands addiction and the need for an intervention

Above all, it is important to ensure the safety and wellbeing of the child in order to avoid future emotional trauma. Utilizing a professional interventionist can aid in making the decision to include a child in a parent’s intervention or not.

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