Substance Abuse Over Age 18. What Boundaries Exist for an Adult?

i Aug 4th No Comments by

Age 18 is an adult whose rights and privacy are protected by law. Talk with other parents in a similar situation. Start treating him like an adult, setting boundaries between you and the substance abuser. Many parents don’t act until a problem is full blown, fueling the behaviors with excuses or multiple ‘second’ chances. An addiction therapist told me 75% of her clients “didn’t practice the tough love necessary to help their loved ones engage in recovery and responsible behaviors.”

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Establishing boundaries with a substance abuser  are more difficult once a teen turns 18.

Some boundaries for young adults:

Removing privileges, such as:

  • Payment for phone, car, and tuition
  • Removal of personal devices, video game and computer equipment
  • Removal from the house and locking them out
  • A restraining order if they have stolen property, cash or medications or abused drugs and alcohol in your home – or if they have been verbally or physically abusive

Young adults are resourceful. Parents with a drug or alcohol abusing teen or young adult should credit their children with the survival instinct and act swiftly to enforce a zero tolerance attitude with actions.

The blog, “Take Good Care of Yourself” offers good insight into boundaries – what they are, who needs them, how to implement them. Here are some of the blog’s clear boundaries for a teen:

1.   “Yes, I’ll be happy to drive you to the mall as soon as you’re finished with your chores.”
2.   “You can borrow my CDs just as soon as you replace the one that you damaged.”
3.    “If you put your dirty clothes in the hamper by 9:00 Saturday morning, I’ll be happy to wash them for you.”
4.    “Can I give Joe a message? Our calling hours are from 9:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. I’ll let him know you called.”
5.    “I’m sorry; that doesn’t work for me.  I won’t be loaning you money until you have paid me what I loaned you previously.”
6.    “You’re welcome to live here while you’re going to college as long as you follow our rules.”

Please visit these sites for more information on boundaries for teens