Raising a young addict: Parental narratives on living with a teenager with substance abuse problems

  • Prudence Mafa
  • Jabulani Makhubele
Keywords: teenager, substance abuse, parental experiences


This study aimed at exploring experiences of parents whose teenage children have a substance abuse problem and are receiving treatment for such a  problem in an outpatient treatment centre in Soweto. The current study was carried out with nine parents whose teenage children abused substances.  These parents were purposefully selected using non-probability sampling. Data was collected using semi-structured interviews and then thematically analysed. The study shows that parents experience all sort of negative  feelings/emotions ranging from self-blame, helplessness, anger and guilt. The study further revealed that parents have feelings of inadequacy in  parental responsibilities. Substance abuse is a family disease which in addition to the user themselves affects the whole family. Parents of teenagers who have substance abuse problems need psycho-social support so as to enhance their social functioning.

Keywords: teenager, substance abuse, parental experiences


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1596-9231