The Parent’s Guide to Staging an Intervention

April 1, 2022

7 mins

Dane O'Leary


An intervention is one of the few tools available to the loved ones of individuals suffering from addiction. For this reason, we're breaking down everything a parent should know to stage a successful intervention.

As a parent, you want your child to thrive. You want your child to excel in life. Watching your child struggle with addiction can be challenging to handle, especially when overdose death rates are higher than they've ever been

Staging a formal intervention is an opportunity to take a stand, letting your son or daughter know that you’re ready to work together to beat his or her addiction. If you're looking for information regarding interventions, then you've come to the right place because this is our guide to staging an intervention, specifically for parents and caregivers. 

What is an Intervention? 

An intervention is a carefully staged meeting between friends and family, who collaborate with healthcare professionals, such as a professional interventionist, to confront your child about the consequences of their addiction.

During an intervention, the goal is to confront your son or daughter with evidence of how addiction has affected not only his or her life but the life of his or her loved ones. Provide specific examples of how your child’s addiction is impacting their friends and loved ones. 

The goal is to confront your son or daughter with evidence of how addiction has affected not only his or her life but the life of his or her loved ones

An intervention is an opportunity to offer your child a prearranged treatment plan that includes clear steps and goals. Each person participating in the intervention must outline clear consequences that will be put in place if your child refuses to accept treatment as there must be repercussions for not accepting help. 

Ultimately, the goal is to get your child into treatment for their addiction. At Never Alone Recovery, we provide intervention support, addiction education, and drug addiction treatment placement with which to help your child. 

Knowing When to Stage an Intervention for Your Child

Your child remains your child at any age and in every situation. Even when he or she is making poor choices, you want the best for your child and for him or her to be independent. For this reason, it can be hard to know when to approach someone struggling with an intervention or if you should say something. 

Look for signs to identify that your child is struggling and needs help.

Your Child Denies the Issue

Denial of the problem is one of the main contributors to the decision to stage an intervention. For parents of addicted children, you’ll likely have seen substance abuse behavior and addiction impact your child’s work, relationships, and health. You may even have already tried to talk to them about it, but he or she claimed to be fine. At this point, it is time to stage an intervention and get them to face their issues. 

Your Child is Engaging in Destructive Behavior

Addiction leads to destructive behavior that harms individuals and the people around them. If you can see your child is engaging in destructive behavior that puts their lives and those around them at risk—such as driving drunk, overdosing, or watching their own children while intoxicated—it is time to stage an intervention so you can discuss the destructive behavior formally. 

Your Child is Lying to You 

Addiction changes how one’s mind works. Over time, sustaining their addiction becomes the only thing that matters. This can lead to lying, cheating, stealing, and anything else needed in the pursuit of addiction. An intervention is your chance to point out to your child how he or she is not making good decisions and how addiction controls his or her decisions. 

Your Child’s Health is Deteriorating

Addiction can have serious health consequences that can include liver, heart, and even brain health issues. Additionally, someone suffering from addiction may stop caring about their appearance, paying attention to their diet, and working out. If your child’s health is deteriorating, there could be a serious underlying issue. 

You Can’t Support Your Child on Your Own 

For many parents, staging an intervention is a last resort. Maybe you’ve done everything you can and are still terrified about what your child is going through. The next step could be to stage an intervention. 

If any of the above signs sound familiar to you, staging an intervention could be the right move for your child. An intervention creates a forum in which to bring together people who care about your child and can appeal to them to get the help they need.

Bring together the people closest to your child who have seen the impact of addiction on your child’s life.

Who Should be Involved in the Intervention

Building your intervention team is a crucial first step toward a successful intervention. 

A Professional Interventionist

Though not necessarily a requirement, an interventionist can be a real asset to your team. An interventionist is a mental health professional who will guide you through the process of staging an intervention. This includes helping friends and family write their impact statements, developing a personalized treatment plan for your child, serving as the host of the intervention, and helping your child get to rehab should they accept help. 

At Never Alone Recovery, our team includes experienced interventionists who can help you prepare and execute an intervention for your child. Our goal is to help you understand how to choose a drug rehab program that is right for your child. 

A Mental Health Counselor 

If your child is suffering from mental health issues in addition to addiction, you may want a mental health counselor or social worker to be on your intervention team. 

Close Friends and Family Members

Bring together people who have seen the impact of addiction on your child’s life firsthand. Depending on the circumstances, this may include other family members, including siblings, aunts, uncles, and cousins. If your child is married, include the spouse and potentially children, depending on their age. 

You should also reach out to your child’s friends. Reach out to friends they are in contact with now and friends they may have lost touch with due to their addiction. You need people there who know and care about your child.


Don’t inform your child of the intervention until the day it takes place.

Be careful with involving coworkers in your child’s intervention because you don’t want to hurt his or her employment. However, if there’s a coworker with whom they are close and who is aware of the situation, it may make sense to include them. 

How to Stage an Intervention 

We've all seen interventions in popular media, including the show Intervention on A&E. However, it's easy for movies and shows to portray interventions as being relatively simple encounters requiring only minimal preparation. While it's important to realize that almost anyone can stage an effective intervention with minimal resources, it's important to take interventions seriously and put ample time into preparing. 

To stage a successful intervention, you'll need to follow these critical steps.

Create a Team

After deciding to stage an intervention for your child, the first thing to do is build the intervention team. As outlined previously, this team can include a professional interventionist, a mental health counselor, and people who care about your son or daughter, such as family, friends, and loved ones.

Don’t inform your child of the intervention until the day it takes place. Having both family and non-family present can help keep the focus on solving the problem instead of focusing on the emotions. 

Collect Information

Next, collect information about your child’s addiction. What issues are they facing? What are they dealing with? Are they dealing with one addiction or multiple addictions? Are their underlying mental health issues? Are there underlying physical health issues? By understanding what your child is facing, you can more easily create a plan to address these issues. 

Another important part of this step is researching treatment options. For each person suffering from addiction, there's a program comprised of treatments based on specific modalities that will best address his or her needs. Oftentimes, not properly researching treatment and choosing the right program leave individuals with many of their needs unmet as they're getting out of rehab. To ensure that this doesn't happen to your loved one, you should research different rehab and treatment options in your area.

A professional with a strong understanding of levels of care can help you create a treatment plan for your child.

Additionally, an interventionist -- or another professional with a strong understanding of levels of care -- can help you create a tentative treatment plan that will address your child's needs. 

Decide on Consequences

If your loved one doesn’t accept the treatment offered during the intervention, there should be consequences. During the intervention, you should lay out specific consequences for your child if he or she doesn’t accept help.

Plan What to Say

An intervention is not something to attempt to do on the fly. Among other reasons, each person involved needs to have the time to plan exactly what they want to say so they can adequately explain how they've been affected by your child’s behaviors.

Hold the Meeting

Once you have engaged in all the planning, it’s time to hold the meeting. Have your child come to the intervention location where everyone involved in planning the intervention is present. If applicable, your interventionist will likely facilitate the meeting as the host, ensuring everyone involved gets a chance to speak. 

Be sure to have someone designated ahead of time to take your child to rehab should they accept help, whether the interventionist or a loved one. If your child accepts help, It is important for him or her to get that help immediately to build upon the momentum of the intervention. 

Follow Up

Those involved in the intervention should continue to be involved in the treatment process. This support can help your child avoid a relapse during and after treatment. Your child’s support system needs to make changes that will help your child avoid engaging in destructive behavior. 

If you are worried about your child’s mental, emotional, and physical well-being due to an addiction, it is time to stage an intervention. Call Never Alone Recovery at our toll-free number, 844-364-4445, and allow us to help you find intervention support and the right treatment option for your child.

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