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Breaking Family Cycles of Addiction with Youth Programs

Addiction can be carried on through generations within a family but youth programs like Ozarks Teen Challenge can break the cycle.

From the outside, a family may look completely fine and happy. But on the inside, things may actually be very different. Here at the Ozarks Teen Challenge youth program, we mentor many teens who come from homes or backgrounds where addiction is a major issue. In many ways, such a background can warp thought processes, behaviors and the overall state of the heart, leading to further addiction down the road.

Youth programs like our Christian boarding school with rehab treatment can help break a multigenerational cycle of addiction, but it’s also important that families understand how the family cycle of addiction works and how they can work to prevent it.

Addiction Within the Family

According to recoverytoday.net, “approximately one in four children in the US is exposed to alcoholism or drug addiction within the family” and those children are four times more likely to develop addiction than others. Families living with addiction undoubtedly deal with an intense amount of stress due to the unpredictable behaviors of adults in the household. Oftentimes children are forced to deal with this stress at a very young age and they end up missing out on their childhood because they are forced to take care of themselves.

Coping Mechanisms

Children who grow up in addictive homes often develop coping mechanisms for survival. These behaviors can cause additional emotional issues and behaviors that they carry into their teenage years and adulthood. Youth programs such as Ozarks Teen Challenge can help teens address the following coping mechanisms, as well as many other emotional and spiritual issues.

Compliance. According to drugfree.org, children naturally test the limits with the adults in their lives – it’s how they grow and learn important life lessons. But children with addicted parents can’t rely on the inconsistent behaviors of their parents, so instead they learn to be compliant, not make mistakes, and do what’s necessary to get by without making any waves. This limits the capability of a child to develop the internal structure that guides their decision-making.

Suppressing emotions. Children need to feel safe at home with family, but an unstable, addicted parent can greatly reduce those feelings of safety and security. In response, children and teens often suppress their emotions to protect themselves from hurt. Teen rehab youth programs can help teens learn how to express their emotions in a healthy way.

Inability to communicate. Teens who grow up in a home filled with addiction don’t typically have a stable adult to show them how to effectively create and build relationships. Communication is often lacking at home and feelings of shame may push teens to lie about their homelife and isolate themselves from others.

Codependent behavior. Addiction and codependency often go hand in hand and these behaviors are unconsciously taught to kids by their parents. Codependent behaviors are usually taught at a young age and result in a lack of self-worth, an unhealthy dependence on others, and dangerous self-harming activities.

Self-medicating. Teens often turn to drugs, alcohol and promiscuous sexual activity in an attempt to seek out love or acceptance from others and deal with stressful situations at home.

How Our Youth Programs Are Breaking the Cycle of Addiction

Many Christian youth programs like Ozarks Teen Challenge are designed to meet teens where they are. These programs for troubled teens help kids understand why they pursue those addictive behaviors, while also providing the spiritual, physical and mental resources to help them overcome it. Many of the coping mechanisms and behaviors listed above can be addressed with a teen rehab program that is focused on the state of the heart.

Our Christian boarding school for troubled boys is a place where teens can feel safe, secure and loved. The members of our staff care for your son as if he was our own, and we care for you too! We know that cycles of family addiction can be hard to break but we strongly believe that the power of Christ can overcome any addiction.

We don’t just rely on the standard drug treatment options to “cure” your son – we help him fight for his lifelong transformation by encouraging him to love himself as Christ does. With individual and group mentorship, healthy relationship building, wilderness therapy programs, opportunities for servant leadership and a safe environment to learn and make mistakes, our youth programs can help your son can break the cycle of addiction within your family.

Contact us today for more information about our youth program and family cycles of addiction.

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