Many people choose to conceal major family problems as a means of protecting their children. In reality, discussing these issues with your children can actually benefit you in the long run. If you know how to go about doing this, then you won’t have to lie to your children. One of the main issues that parents have with their spouses is alcoholism. About 26.8 million families have children who are exposed to substance abuse. In these cases, it may be difficult for children to cope with what’s happening.
An adult’s alcoholism can have drastic effects on a child. Children can show signs of delinquent behavior, fear, and dissociation. You can start by putting yourself in the child’s shoes. Your child might be carrying feelings of guilt, anger, confusion, or embarrassment. Understand that the child will sense that something is wrong but will either not know how to get help or will doubt that getting help will improve the situation. This will better equip you to describe the situation more gently. Help is also available from a wide range of substance abuse hotlines, who can talk directly to family members on your behalf, and have been trained on guiding family members impacted by alcoholism and drug use.
Know the addiction
You can’t teach somebody something that you don’t know well enough yourself. Before you go off on a handle saying things that aren’t fully true, do your research. Why are people addicted to alcohol? Why is your significant other or relative addicted to alcohol? What programs are available to help the addict if he or she does accept help? It would be a waste of time to memorize scientific terms for everything related to this subject, but it is however, important to learn some background knowledge.
Age is an important factor
When you are planning to have the talk with your child, you must know that younger children won’t be able to grasp certain concepts as well as older children because their brains are still developing. However, there are feelings that kids connect with. Children understand the feeling of wanting something that you can’t have. As they mature, they will realize that they want something that is bad for them. Breaking up the term alcoholism into these basic human feelings is a way to aid the conversation. Start with feeling. Not everyone knows a word, but many people have experienced a feeling.
You don’t have to throw everything at your child all at once
Similar to school systems, you can inch your way towards alcoholism over time. Just ensure the child that it is not his or her fault. He or she can’t control or detain a parent from drinking.
Getting back to the component of knowledge, you should know the phases of rehabilitation. When a person gives up drinking, at first, he or she will not appear to have changed. This brings us to a common question that is frequently asked by many… what is a dry drunk? A dry drunk is someone who no longer drinks but still has the mindset of an alcoholic. He or she will experience desire and want, which could put him or her in a slump.
The person is committed to not drinking, but he or she hasn’t gotten over the emotional aspect of drinking. If this is the case for you, then, yet again, experience is a great teacher. Your child will experience a similar feeling of getting out of a traumatic experience. However, you can tell your child that your spouse is letting go of a bad drink that was hurting all of you. Your spouse is doing this because he or she cares, and it will take time.
In sum, the takeaway here is to ease your way into this topic. You will want to take it step by step in a gradual approach. If you and your significant other can work together, the better it can be. Addiction does not have to tear families apart. The more time you spend talking about these topics, the closer you will be. And don’t be afraid to ask for professional help. Life has a world of teachers.