Helping A Child Whose Parent Is Struggling With Addiction

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What can you do if you're a teacher, a neighbor, a churchgoer, a coach ... and you suspect a child is being impacted by a parent's addiction?

Maybe you're thinking, "I'd love to help but it's not my business." Or "I want to reach out but I don't know much about addiction."

Remember that episode of Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, where he tells children to "look for the helpers"? You can be that helper simply by being present for the child. Mary Beth Collins with the National Association for Children of Addiction (NACoA) says you certainly don't have to be an expert in addiction.

"We are not expecting adults to have to go and do a crash course. You don't have to go and read a book all about addiction," she says. "All that you really need to know how to do is to be caring, to be loving and to be able to connect with kids and engage with them. That's as simple as it is."

Here are six ways you can make a difference.

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