What Should Parents Do With Their Kids During Inpatient Rehab?

During inpatient rehab, parents should leave their children with a trusted family member or friend. This caregiver should have access to each child’s daily schedule and medical information. Parents should also consider putting their children in individual or family therapy to help them cope.

Substance use disorder (drug addiction) affects your entire family. By seeking treatment, you secure a brighter future not only for yourself but also for your loved ones, especially your children. 

However, if you choose inpatient care, you might worry about leaving your kids behind. Here’s how to keep them happy and safe while you attend rehab. 

What Should Parents Do With Their Kids During Inpatient Rehab?

While living at a drug addiction treatment center, you must focus your full attention on recovery. That’s why you should leave your children with a trusted caregiver before you head to the center. 

Choose A Close Caregiver

It’s best to choose a caregiver your kids already feel close with, such as a family member or longtime family friend. You can also ask older children for their input. By valuing their opinions, you can help them feel more comfortable by the time you leave. 

The caregiver you choose must be able to meet all of your childrens’ needs. To make this easier, provide a detailed daily schedule for each child. A sense of structure and routine can help your kids cope with your absence. 

You must also tell all schools and daycare centers that someone else will be picking up your children each day.

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Decide Where The Kids Stay

Once you choose a caregiver, decide whether your children will stay with them at your house or at the caregiver’s house. Although your kids may feel more comfortable at home, the caregiver might find it easier to provide care in their own space.

Provide Favorite Foods & Some Cash 

In either case, make sure your kids have access to their favorite foods to establish a sense of normalcy. You should also leave the caregiver with enough money or a credit card to meet your childrens’ needs.

File A Medical Release Form

In addition, in case of emergency, you should file a medical release form so your chosen caregiver can seek medical treatment for your children on your behalf. 

Similarly, make sure the caregiver has access to all of your childrens’ medical information, including any allergies they have and medications they use.

Figure Out How To Stay In Touch

You should also contact your residential treatment facility to determine how you can keep in touch with your children. While some centers only allow phone calls or letters, others allow in-person visits. 

Some centers even offer family therapy. During family therapy sessions, a behavioral health professional can help your children manage any difficult feelings they experience throughout your treatment process. 

Consider Therapy For Them

Your kids may also benefit from individual therapy before, during, and after your rehab stay. 

In individual therapy, children can safely explore all of the emotions that may arise when facing a parent’s addiction. Likewise, teens may enjoy support groups like Alateen. These groups can help adolescents navigate the challenges of having a parent in recovery.

How To Prepare Your Kids For Your Rehab Stay

When you leave for your drug rehab program, your children may experience a variety of feelings, such as confusion, sadness, uncertainty, and anger. You can help them manage these feelings by preparing them for your rehab stay. 

Explain The Situation

Choose a calm, quiet environment, and set aside enough time to explain your situation and answer your kids’ questions. When choosing which details to share, consider each child’s age and personality. 

In general, you can tell older kids that you are seeking treatment for your addiction. Explain that addiction is just like any other health problem. Also, make sure your children understand that they had nothing to do with your substance misuse. 

Encourage them to avoid drugs and develop healthy ways to manage emotional pain, such as journaling, making art, and spending time in nature.

For younger children, keep it simple. Explain that you are sick and need to go away to the hospital for a little while so doctors can help you feel better. No matter their ages, remind your kids that your time at the rehab center will make your family stronger in the long run. 

Next, explain what will happen while you are gone. 

Discuss who your children will be staying with, what their days will look like, and how they can keep in touch with you. You should also tell them when exactly you will return. Some kids may enjoy seeing pictures of the facility as well.

Let Them Ask Questions

After you explain the situation, give your children a chance to ask questions. Some of these questions may involve your drug abuse. Again, use your best judgment to determine how much information your kids need. 

You should also let them express any concerns they have. Validate all their feelings, and let them know you will support them however you can. 

To learn more about substance abuse treatment programs, please reach out to Ohio Recovery Center. Our board-certified healthcare providers offer medical detox, mental health counseling, and other evidence-based treatment options to help you or your loved one thrive.

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse https://nida.nih.gov/publications/drugs-brains-behavior-science-addiction/treatment-recovery
  2. Social Work In Public Health https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3725219/

Written by Ohio Recovery Center Editorial Team

Published on: January 2, 2024

© 2024 Ohio Recovery Center | All Rights Reserved

* This page does not provide medical advice.

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