It goes without saying; being a parent is serious business.
As a parent, you are constantly juggling the needs of your family, your work and yourself and trying to find a sense of balance amidst the madness. As the common saying goes, the struggle is real and while walking this tightrope can bring about many anxious moments and a few grey hairs, you wouldn’t change it for the world.
What happens if you become addicted to drugs and alcohol? Addiction throws the family into disarray, and children often bear the brunt of the disease. On top of everything else you need to worry about, now you are struggling with the stigma of being an addict and shame knowing that while your children may not say anything, they definitely know something bad is going on–and they may feel guilt, shame and even anger.
It is the elephant that is in the room and impossible to ignore. What do you do?
Getting Help Is Only Part of The Equation
Getting help through drug treatment is an important step in breaking the cycle of addiction in your life. You need to focus on your recovery, learn the underlying reasons why you became addicted, and get the tools and support you need to stay sober.
That is all good, but in treatment you learn that addiction is a family disease. While your actions under the influence caused great distress, pain and dysfunction in your life, that damage extends to your family, and especially your children.
Once you get your legs back under you and back on your feet, how do you as parents can explain addiction and your recovery to your children in a language they can easily understand?
Ways to Explain Addiction To Your Children
You may wonder how parents can explain addiction in a way that brings healing and closure. Here are several tips to consider.
The first step in how parents can explain addiction to there children is to take the time to really listen and answer all of their questions. While the subject can be very emotional for children it is important to meet it head on and not skirt or avoid the issue. In explaining addiction to children, it is best to keep it simple and stick with the questions at hand.
Another way that parents can explain addiction is to help build a support system for their kinds. Just as recovering addicts have sponsors and other support people in their lives, your children should be able to turn to a trusted and objective outside person and be able to talk to them about your addiction.
When you talk to your children about addiction, try and talk about addiction as a illness they can understand. If you are able to compare what you are going through to an illness like diabetes, your children are more likely to understand why you are feeling mood swings or are irritable. While addiction is a complex disease, giving your kids a foundation and a basis to start from in understanding what you are going through is a great start.
Finally, make your recovery an open and active part of your daily conversation with your children. Learning how parents can explain addiction to their kids is by incorporating it into daily life.Make it a part of your regular daily routine and part of the family structure. By doing this, you are creating an environment of open communication and active listening.
No matter what situation you may be in, learning how to talk about addiction is difficult and can carry heavy emotional weight. If you need help in finding ways to explain addiction to children as well as other family members and loved ones, Sober Nation features countless articles on addiction and how the family can work together to help build new beginnings.