- Obey their demands. Give in to their tantrums. Deny them nothing. If they want it, indulge them. Make sure they know you will always be there to get them out of trouble. If they break a toy or wreck a car, replace it.
- Overlook, defend, or rescue them from the consequences of their negative behavior. Accept their excuses or blame others by saying things such as, “My child would never do that!”, “It can’t be her fault; it must be the school’s fault!”, or “The other child made him do it.”
- Disregard moral principles. Be dishonest. Involve your children in lying or cheating others and taking pleasure in the misfortune of others. Encourage insecurity by telling them to keep secrets from other family members or family secrets from others.
- Avoid touching, hugging, and taking time to interact with your children. Deny the existence of their emotional and social needs. Discourage them from expressing feelings and isolate them from friends, organizations, and activities. Disregard their physical needs.
- Ignore their worthwhile and constructive habits. Avoid complimenting or praising their efforts. When they have done something well, make fun of it. Belittle their ideas, interests, and accomplishments. Dwell on their weaknesses. Expect them to fail. Express hopelessness in their ability to succeed or to cope positively with life’s stresses.
- Pretend you never make mistakes or have problems. Expect perfection from your children. Judge them harshly if they make a mistake or misbehave. Never forgive, but instead hurt and degrade them by yelling, blaming, shaming, whipping, humiliating, or threatening to abandon them.
- Establish and enforce tough, rigid rules. Discourage thought and questions by demanding that they do what you want, when you want it done. Never help them think of ways to work through their own problems. Demonstrate your distrust of them by questioning everything they do, and discount their right to privacy and independence as they mature.
- Keep children constantly on guard by being unpredictable. Become angry at an action one day and laugh at it the next. Avoid any kind of routine. Let them decide when to eat and sleep. Allow them to watch television continually without your supervision or guidance. Avoid traditions. Rarely eat dinner as a family. Treat them differently. Have a “favorite” child who can do no wrong and a “bad” child who can do no right.
- Remain uninformed about drugs and drug use. If you smoke, drink alcohol excessively, or use other drugs, make excuses and deny your own use. Never discuss your attitudes or feelings about drugs. Disregard the facts concerning the negative effects drugs have on the mind and body.
- Above all else, discount your own value as a human being. Communicate anger and resentment toward life. Engage in self-indulgent, self-destructive behaviors.
By Leah Davies, M.Ed.
What’s the difference between enabling someone and helping them?
It’s confusing to know when you are helping your loved one live or when you may be enabling a horrible disease.
There IS a difference between helping and enabling someone struggling with drug or alcohol addiction and knowing what this difference will be crucial to getting your loved one into treatment.
What is enabling a drug or alcohol addiction?
Giving him money when he asks. He will beg, plead, or even threaten violence. She will tell you that she’s starving, needs medical attention, ran out of gas, is about to have her water turned off. We see this every day at Addiction Campuses. We guarantee you that he is using that money to support his habit.
Paying for a car, car insurance, and gas. Unfortunately, it doesn't matter if she says she needs the car to get back and forth to work or school. She is also using that vehicle to get back and forth to her supplier, or worse transporting drugs to other people. If she’s working then she should be able to pay for her car, car insurance and gas. Remember that.
Paying for a cell phone. We know you want to stay connected to your loved one - especially now that they are gone for days at a time and you don’t know where they are. But you need to know that their cell phone also contains the phone numbers to their dealers and using buddies. By providing the means to call them, you’re helping them get high.
Providing her with money for rent, utilities, or a hotel room. By doing this, you’re giving them a place to use. This will not be easy. But to provide this money is enabling. Not helping.
Bailing her out of jail and bringing her home. She needs to realize the consequences of her actions. Help her by not bailing her out.
Allowing him to continue to stay in your home. It is hard to think of your loved one out on the street. But keeping him rent free in your home is not helping him it’s enabling him. By providing your home to him - you're giving him a place to use. Imagine to come home one day and find your son dead in his bedroom. This will happen because he is bringing drugs into your home and getting high there. He is doing that every day. He is doing that right now. Help him by telling him he cannot live in your home until he gets treatment. And mean it.
Giving them food. They are hungry. You can feed them. Staying connected and making sure your little girl has a little food in her belly is ok. It provides you the opportunity to ask if she's had enough of his addiction. But only food and nothing else. No money. No gas. No cell phone.
Seek professional help by contacting an interventionist. A professional intervention dramatically increases your chances of getting your loved one into treatment. We cannot stress this enough.