If you told me your kids are your world, your pride and joy, your everything, I’d believe you in an instant. For most parents, their kids are their greatest accomplishment. They’ve spent their lives nurturing and protecting their children. So it’s completely understandable that a parent wouldn’t want to appear weak or pained in front of his or her children. However, if you’ve been struggling with addiction and treatment is in your plan, your kids need to know.
But we completely understand that telling your kids about treatment is hard. You don’t want them to think that you have a problem or that you’re abandoning them to take care of it. Treatment is a necessity but it’s also a blessing. It’s not a sign of weakness but rather a move to make yourself a better person and parent. Your kids will understand . . . they just need to be told in the right way.
Tips for Telling Your Kids About Treatment:
Young Children (Under 10)
The biggest concern parents have with young children is that they don’t want the kids to feel like they’re being abandoned. In reality, you’re doing the complete opposite. You’re helping your kids by helping yourself. The first decade of a child’s life is extremely significant in shaping the way a child goes into the future. The experiences a child faces in his early years are carried with him through his entire life. So, it’s understandable that you might be afraid that leaving to get help will negatively affect the child. But if you help your child understand what you’re doing and why you’re doing it, getting help can have the complete opposite effect on a child.
The pre-teen age is already a complicated time for children. They’re transitioning between elementary levels, starting to go through puberty, and trying to figure out where they belong. So adding on the fact that their parent needs treatment for addiction can seem like too much. You may feel uneasy telling them about treatment because you’re afraid it’ll be the tipping point on the already-confusing transitional period they’re currently in. But you can’t let that stop you from explaining treatment to them.
Oh, teenagers. They get such a bad rap. But don’t discount their ability to approve of you getting treatment for your addiction. Teenagers don’t have to be the angry, aloof, hard-to-talk-to rebels that we make them out to be. They are entirely capable of understanding why you need treatment and then supporting you through the process. You just need to include them.
Treatment will take you out of your addiction struggle. It will also give you the room and the tools to be a better person moving forward. And that’s important to your kids. You can’t help your kids navigate their lives if you’re struggling in yours. Treatment is not forever but your bond with your children is. And it will only be strengthened in recovery.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Call our staff at 855-737-7363 or talk to us through our live chat. New Start is here to help you.