• Heather Goodwin

A Parent Survival Plan for Childrens’ Addictions

Updated: Aug 24, 2019

It’s a parent's worst nightmare: realizing your child is engaging in addictive behaviors. Take hope in the fact that there are solutions. Whether your child is compulsively engaging in the Internet/gaming, alcohol, drugs or vaping, or even junk food, there are simple steps that a parent can take that can have a profound impact. Almost all of the time, addictive behaviors have an underlying cause that can be addressed. And sometimes, it’s just a simple cry for help. Remember that all children crave the guidance, love and connection that a parent can provide. Even when sometimes it doesn’t seem like it!


Try these steps:


1. Figure out the Function.

Every single behavior has a function or a motivating driver that feeds it. And every function falls into one of two categories: to obtain something or to avoid something. It is important to remember that there is nothing inherently wrong with functions of behavior. We all have them! We all want to get something or avoid something, and we all have either beneficial or destructive ways that we go about this. When you can figure out the function that’s driving your child’s addictive tendencies, you’ve unlocked the magic key. If your child is open to talking to you, simply ask these guiding questions. If your child is closed off to open communication, ask YOURSELF these questions. (Trust your intuition; you know the answer!)


These questions give you an idea of how to figure out if it’s a function of OBTAIN or AVOID?

  • “Honey, what is it about being on Fortnite/ Instagram/Snapchat, drinking alcohol with your friends or eating all that sugar that feels so good for you?

  • Do you feel like you get something from it? Friends’ approval?

  • A feeling that just feels good; something that makes you feel fulfilled in some way?”