Being a single parent is already hard enough, but it’s even harder if you have an addiction that you’re trying to hide from your children. Once you get out of the cycle of addiction, it’s important to come clean with your children so that they know what’s going on and what to expect.
It makes much more sense for your child to know why you’re sick and going through withdrawal, than for them to think you’re just sick and irritable. While you do need to come clean with your children about your addiction, it’s not the easiest thing to do. Like most parents, you want your child to think of you as invincible and a hero. You can still be all those things. Read on below for a few tips to help you talk to your child about your addiction.
Acknowledge Their Pain
In most cases, children go through a lot when they have a parent who is suffering from an addiction. The effects of parental drug abuse spread far and wide and can have lifelong effects on kids. Not only is that a good reason to get help for your addiction, but it’s also why you need to acknowledge the pain that your children have gone through because of it. Sincerely apologize for the pain you’ve caused your children and go to therapy with them if you think it will help them cope and move on.
Become Educated First
Although you’ve been living with your addiction and understand a lot about it, there are always going to be things that you don’t know. That’s why it’s important to educate yourself on addiction before you dive into a conversation about your addiction with your children. They’re probably going to have a lot of questions, and you want to be able to answer them as best as you can. Being educated on the topic helps you do that.
Assure them this is not their Fault
One of the first things you want to do when you sit your children down to explain your addiction is to assure them that the addiction is in no way their fault. There are many ways that you can help your child through this phase, including getting outside help to help them cope. Make sure that they know they didn’t do this, and that your addiction is completely on you, not on them.
Time the Talk for the Right Time
You can’t just decide in one minute to sit your children down and explain your addiction to them. If you can, it’s important to have your talk after you have a plan and an addiction treatment program in place. That way, you can prove that things are going to change. You need a calm, quiet, and safe environment to have your talk in. Don’t have a bunch of other people around. It should be just you and your children, as this talk is going to be hard on all of you. You don’t need other people around to worry about.
End With Love, Hope, and Patience
One of the most important things to do is to end your conversation with hope. Let them know that there is hope that you’ll get better and things will be okay from now on. Let your children know that you love them and have patience with them as well. They might not be willing to believe you in the beginning, so you have to give them the love they deserve and be patient until they come around.
These are just a few tips to help you talk to your children about your addiction. Remember, make sure to have a plan in place first, then end your conversation with hope.