The week of Feb. 9-15, 2020 is National Children of Addiction (COA) Week. During this week, Wichita Mountains Prevention Network wishes to raise awareness among the community regarding addiction, and the impact it has on the kids and teens of parents struggling with addiction, while also celebrating the thousands of children who are healing.

COA Awareness Week helps in breaking the silence and stigma that engulfs and traps kids and teens and offers the hope for children at risk to become children of promise. Addiction continues to be a national health epidemic. One in 7 individuals will struggle with addiction at some point during their lives. Many people who struggle with addition are parents. In 2019 alone, the amount of overdoes from heroin across the country have continued to rise, hurting countless families. 

Children living with parental addiction are vulnerable to pain, isolation, and fear every single day. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. With the right support, children can begin the process of healing and coping with the situation of being affected by addiction. 

While addiction tends to run in some families, so can recovery. With proper guidance, support, and services, children can learn how to live without shame. With your help, kids and teens in your community affected by addiction can recover. Here are several tips on how you can be an advocate for Children of Addiction:

•Be caring and consistent, but don’t pry.

•Remember children love their parents (even if they’ve said or done terrible things).

•Remind them (repeatedly) it’s not their fault.

•Look beyond a child’s behavior, instead ask “why”. 

•Help kids learn to deal with their emotions in a healthy way.

•Let kids be kids. Encourage them to be silly and have fun. 

For more information and strategies on how you can help Children of Addiction, please visit nacoa.org. If you would like more information on resources located in Southwest Oklahoma, please visit WMPN.org, or call Wichita Mountains Prevention Network at 580-355-5246.

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