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Children and Addiction
  1. #1
    Exhausted is offline Member
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    Default Children and Addiction

    Was wondering if anyone has recommendations from personal experience (or from a good book???) on how and when to explain addiction to a young child? The child is currently 7 years old and has no idea there is a problem. As of right now, the sun rises and sets on daddy. He is an awesome dad, friends even call him "Super Dad" because he does more than what most people do with and for his child. There has never been screaming or fighting in the house, we have always done things as a family, and there is a normal 9-5 lifestyle going on...no Charlie Sheen Syndrome here. The addiction was hidden VERY good.

    Now that the recovery stage has begun, we realize our child will eventually need to know the truth. Both for support and (hopefully) prevention. When daddy goes to NA meetings, she asks where he is going and we tell her to a class or work. That answer is acceptable for now but will eventually not fly. Any ideas? Thanks for any input!

  2. #2
    munchkinsmom is offline Member
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    I am going through the same thing, you commented on my post. My son is 6, almost 7 and the same thing, nothing is more important to him then daddy. As you know my husband is currently out of the house. In order to explain things to my son I informed him that daddy was sick and needed to be away for a while until he got better. My son has asked many questions about daddy being sick, for now I keep it sort of vague. As far as he knows daddy has a sickness that we can not help him with. Daddy is getting help and will come back when he is better.

    We did have the screaming, yelling and breaking stuff. Munchkin knows that those all happened because daddy was sick and when he comes back that won't happen any more.

    I feel that being open about daddy being sick I can, when he is older and can understand, have an open dialogue with him about addiction and how much it hurt us as a family. As the years go on we will talk openly about this and how sad we were because daddy yelled and broke things. Then we can talk about how we felt and how daddy felt during our time apart.

    I plan on telling him eventually but not until he can truly understand what happened. In my mind its like the sex talk, start early and evolve the conversation as they grow and mature. Talking to your children about sex, alcohol, drugs and trying these things underage should be done early and often.

    When the kids are little we talk to them about their "private areas" that no one but themselves are allowed to see. Why can't it be the same with drugs? They should understand what they are facing.

    I will step down off my soap box now, sorry about the rant but that is how I am teaching my son to cope. I hope you found some of it helpful to you.

  3. #3
    ComingHome is offline Senior Member
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    This is a touchy subject, and I have some experience with this since I have an kids 11 and 12 yrs old. First off, I want to say that you are both doing it right so far IMO, and I wouldn't be in a hurry to stray from your current strategy in dealing with the subject. My instinct has always told me to be vague yet as truthful as possible. The fact of the matter is kids don't need to know everything, always. I've always just said I am going to meet up with some friends for an hour or so. Be careful of saying too much as kids talk to their friends, and their friend's parents might not be so understanding as those of us with a better understanding of the disease. Even thought it is classified as a disease and recognized by the medical community, the fact is there is still a big stigma attached to addicts and alcoholics, even in this day and age.

    I personally had a situation where it just so happened that my daughter's best friend's mom went to the same meetings as me. I didn't find this out until after I already knew her from meetings, and I hadn't met my daughter's best friend's mom yet. You get the picture. To make a long story short, my daughter's best friend has never been to my house, and she is strickly forbidden from any sleepovers in our house... and I have a very good reputation in the NA community as someone who has substantial clean time and helps others. So, this is probably an oddball situation, and quite frankly kind of bizarre since she herself is a cronic relapser with a poor reputation in the Na community. Needless to say, I stopped attending those meetings as it started to get a little sticky. But, there are plenty of other meetings, so it wasn't really a loss for me at all. And, then there's the issue of her telling other parents and smearing my reputation.. and that could get even more sticky. You get the picture? So, I decided to create some distance. - out of sight, out of mind. All I'm saying is be very careful about what you tell kids as it can have a lot bigger impact than you might imagine. All of this effects my family and my daughter, which is unfortunate, but it is what it is, so when I get lemons, all I can do is try to make lemonade.

    CH
    Last edited by ComingHome; 03-12-2011 at 04:07 PM.
    There is ALWAYS hope

  4. #4
    kathleen5hockey is offline Advanced Member
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    I agree with CH. Start out with a little info. Remember, kids don't really understand at that age and they may tell their friends, then the rumors start. No sleepovers is a good idea for all kids until they are older.

  5. #5
    kathleen5hockey is offline Advanced Member
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    I agree with CH. Start out with a little info. Remember, kids don't really understand at that age and they may tell their friends, then the rumors start. No sleepovers is a good idea for all kids until they are older.

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