Children are some of the best observers, often without their parents even realizing it. Your children will typically pick up on the things you try to hide even from yourself. If you struggled with addiction while raising your kids, they most likely noticed some parts of your behaviors, even if they didn’t understand what was happening.
Now that you are in recovery, it is crucial to have a conversation with your children so they can be informed in an age-appropriate way. Knowing how to navigate this challenging conversation is the first step towards honesty and healing within the family unit.
The Benefits of Discussing Addiction
Many children will remain silent about things they observe in the family unit due to fear of being reprimanded or ridiculed or simply because they don’t have the words. Internalizing these thoughts and feelings can lead to emotional distress, which can develop into further problems down the road.
Addiction is a family disease that impacts everyone close to the person actively struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. When you open up the conversation to those most vulnerable, you eliminate the pressure of secrecy and facilitate openness within your family unit.
Navigating the Conversation
Depending on the age of your children, you will have to modify how you discuss the subject of sobriety. Start the conversation by ensuring you have enough time to speak fully and have your children ask questions, allowing them to feel seen and heard. This will ensure they get the whole truth and refrain from filling in the gaps with their imagination, leading to further misunderstandings.
You should keep in mind the age of your children and not use the conversation to unload on them. Be their parent and explain in a way that allows them to understand but doesn’t expose them to concepts they’re not ready for. Use age-appropriate terms, but be honest about what is going on.
Tell your children that you are seeking treatment, going to a support group, or anything else you are doing to help solve the issue at hand. Let them know you are here if they have any questions, and mean it.
Talking to your children about sobriety is hard enough when you are already struggling with it yourself. However, opening up the conversation to them can facilitate greater healing within the family unit. At Alta Loma Transformational Services, we understand the impact that addiction has on children. We help men navigate these challenging conversations to open up healing within their own homes. Through individualized treatment programs, you can be sure to find your best route to sobriety. Start today and live the life you always dreamed of. Call us today at (866) 457-3843.