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who should mentor a substance abusing child

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Child' started by Igotthebuzz, Oct 5, 2014.

  1. Igotthebuzz

    Igotthebuzz Member

    Should a reformed child mentor a substance abusing child ? Or should a older person mentor a substance abusing child?
  2. yari1123

    yari1123 Member

    I think a reformed child can prove useful due to small age gap. Children tend to emulate other children in similar age groups and a bit older. Being mentored by a reformed child can show the abusing child that sobriety is possible. A mentor is someone they can grow a close bond with; especially if they are close in age the child won't feel this person is like a parent but more of a confidant.
    stagsonline likes this.
  3. ambernw

    ambernw Member

    My opinion on this comes from my own past when I was a teenager. I was a trouble child and put my mother through some difficult times. She sent me to a adolescent facility and while there, I found it so much easier to talk about my problems and thoughts with someone closer in age to me. I felt comfortable talking to some of the older mentors and counselors, but when I had time to speak with a recovered teen close in age with me, I felt the advice they were giving me and the things they said had more impact on me because I feel they understood me better. Sometimes it did help having an adult to speak to as well though, so I guess it could go both ways depending on what kind of help/advice the child is seeking.
    Jen S. likes this.
  4. xTinx

    xTinx Community Champion

    Here's my take on mentoring procedures: substance abusing children are almost always mentored by adults for proper supervision. Reformed child mentors are usually there to offer testimonies and share their experiences on how they recovered from substance abuse.
  5. maryannballeras

    maryannballeras Senior Contributor

    I think it's being mentored by a reformed child would do better. At least there's not much difference with the age and they can relate to each other and share experiences that both of them can understand. I hope that this will help you.
  6. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    In my experience with teens in crisis, age is not as important as stability. Too often I see teens and young adults being "mentored" by someone who may be "beating the system" or "fooling everyone". Picking a mentor should be a process. Do your homework, make sure that personality types match up, but also make sure that you have picked a mentor that is deep enough into their recovery that you are comfortable with them mentoring your teen. While we all know length of recovery is not a guarantee that relapse won't be an issue, a mentor that has proven themselves to be capable of handling a wide range of situations is more likely to provide a positive, and stable, influence on your teen. In all honestly, this probably applies to people of all ages as well.
  7. ambernw

    ambernw Member

    Yes! I agree. I am well aware of how some teens are just cruising their way through recovery to make their parents or whoever happy and make them think they have a real strategic plan of staying clean and continuous on the road to recovery, only to discover they're just playing the system. I believe when picking a mentor age COULD be a deciding factor as well, but it has to go along with how long they've been in recovery, their own personal experiences and how well they are planning the future and dealing with reality now plays a big role in deciding a mentor for a child, and even for yourself.
  8. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I have seen more than a few situations where teens have had mentors that have done more harm than good. You have to remember that each person has their own tricks & tips, both good & bad. The wrong mentor can teach someone new ways of hiding things, provide solutions to the ways they were previously caught, and in many cases I have seen a switch from one substance to another. This can be really challenging for a parent that is looking for heroin abuse symptoms in a teen that has now started using a different drug. Take the time to get to know the person as an individual, not just a mentor, and I think you'll have a greater chance at success. I hope it works out for you.
  9. stagsonline

    stagsonline Active Contributor

    A reformed child in the same age-group as the substance-abusing child is the best option. Getting a child who could easily bond with the affected child could be a challenge unless the child is taken to a rehabilitation center and take some time to make friends. In cases where the substance-abusing child is not yet taken to a rehabilitation center, I think the best thing to do is have a grown up who he or she is very fond of talk to him or her about drug use.

    Such children can be very arrogant if pushed hard. It is advisable to go slow and work together as the parents with the mentor to help the child stop drug abuse. Stopping the habit early in life goes a long way into helping avoid excessive addiction to any type of drug.
  10. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    A reformed child's "words of wisdom" may not be all that helpful. Kids are curious and the more they hear about the effects of a certain drug, the more likely they'll be to test it. An older person who knows this could focus on helping the child overcome the addiction [rather than talk about their experiences] and make the problem worse by getting the child to use more of the drug to see if it will have the same effect it had on the mentor.

    In any case, age, gives credence to advice someone gives. The younger the mentor, the easier it would be to ignore the[ir] advice.
  11. La.oui

    La.oui Member

    I do agree that there is a possibility that a reformed child can become a trigger for an addicted child. But I disagree on the latter statement about advice and its credibility being based on age.
    I think that an addicted child should have both: a reformed child and an adult guiding the process. There are trained professionals who can handle this.
    However, I think that adults monopolizing wisdom and us accepting it as a trait only age can give is flawed. Recovered children deserve your benefit of the doubt. And a lot of kids these days have more depth than we give them credit for. I say give them a shot and if they so require the assistance of an adult professional then so be it. Til then, let them speak.
  12. Charli

    Charli Community Champion

    I think anyone who has gone through the same situation and challenges would be a good fit as a mentor, regardless of age. I'd even go as far as to say that even a much younger person could mentor someone older if he proves to be mature enough to handle it. That said, in general, I think it is the older folks who still have much more to give in terms of mentorship and advice, but like I said, what matters most is mental state and not so much age.
  13. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Charli,
    I think it might be challenging for an older individual to have a mentor that is younger than them, the "older & wiser" mentality would definitely come into play at times, for some people, and could result in an uphill battle when it comes to their own recovery. Not to say that it's not possible, just don't seem likely to me.
    Jen S. likes this.
  14. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    I agree with that, Teens In Crisis.

    I'm 30 years old and spend a lot of time volunteering at a juvenile correctional facility. Not all of them "connect" with me (I wouldn't expect that to happen), but I think the ones who do feel like I understand where they're coming from. I talk about my own experiences, emotions, etc during that time in my life and try to give advice that applies on the same level. Rather than a 30 year old's level.
  15. Jen S.

    Jen S. Guest

    It's not about glorifying the drug. More like "I understand because I felt that way too. Here's what I found out a little bit later." What doesn't work at all is dismissing a child's feelings or trying to minimize what they believe is a crisis. I may be able to see that it's not "the end of the world" as an adult, but it's still very real to them. I remember my own "end of the world" feelings as a teenager and also remember adults dismissing them as silly and giving me the type of advice that screamed "I'm older and wiser". Looking back I have no problem admitting they were very, VERY silly. :) Just not to me at that time.
  16. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    I completely understand where you're coming from with that. Working in group homes and RTC's with abused and neglected kids, teens in crisis, and teens of that general nature, I have thrived. I honestly believe it's because I was there. Not only do I already know and can anticipate the decisions that many of them make, but I can understand the reasoning and impulsive nature of what they do, and why they do it. It gives a certain level of insight that can help in ways that just supervision or therapy can't.
    Jen S. likes this.
  17. cameronpalte

    cameronpalte Active Contributor

    There should always be a mentor who supports the child, however, I believe that sometimes it shouldn't be the parent because the parent will blame themselves too much, or ignore the child - their rarely is an in between it seems like. You need someone who treats the child like an adult who made a mistake.
  18. TheKid

    TheKid Active Contributor

    I think that a reformed child should mentor the substance abusing child because he knows what the child is going through therefore he can be of more help than any other person. He will also know what signs to look out for if the child were to start abusing the substance again and he will know what will be the best thing to do about it.
  19. jaray87

    jaray87 Member

    I think it all depends on the situation. On one hand, a reformer child can definitely relate and explain properly the path forward, how he or she had re-righted his/her wrong - but that is just it - a child reformer only knows how to handle a situation based on his/her own experience. But every abuser is different and requires different types of support to get through rehabilitation. So, what I am is saying is that we have to monitor the actions and personality of the abuser and see who he/she listens to most.
  20. Nick W.

    Nick W. Community Listener Community Listener

    Personality type is going to come into play here significantly. You're going to want a nurturing and non-dominant personality to mentor, but you want them to be firm and guiding as well. As most have said, no matter what you choose, make sure you get to know the person, and monitor the information they are providing.