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What to tell the kids?

Old 09-05-2003, 08:40 PM
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sdp
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What to tell the kids?

I have twin girls, age 9. When should I level with them the REAL reason Daddy is gone so much? They are clued in to a lot- "Call Daddy at the bar", etc... however, they have pretty much stopped asking where he is when they wake up and he's not there. They make minor comments about beer, etc..

I have never come out and told them that their Daddy has a drinking problem, as I feel they are too young to understand.
What and when to I disclose this?

We never fight in front of them. In fact, we never yell about anything. As I had mentioned in other posts, I hiss comments to him.

I never call him at the bar, his boozo buddies house, etc, unless I really need to get a hold of him. I used to, but stopped a while ago.

They love their ather, and I don't want to downgrade him to them, but I'm not sure how much they should know.
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Old 09-05-2003, 08:59 PM
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sdp,

I have two boys one 11 and the other 5. Only thing that I can tell you is that we (thekids & me) went to a counselor and it helped to anwser both of their questions with age approriate martial about alcoholism. It helped us alot and my older son understands alot more now. It helped him get over some of the anger that he had for his step-dad and me. He sometimes still blames me for the things that his step-dad does or for allowing it to happen but after sometime he will talk about it. I am to stuggleing with how to explain this to my kids but the counselor really did help. Maybe try your kids school about anything that might be age appropriate sometimes the health teacher have some info.

Colleen
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:01 PM
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sdp,
Kids are so much smarter than we really give them credit for. The other night my son shocked me again. I was ironing in the kitchen and he came in and asked where his Dad was. I told him he took a ride in the city to see a friend, he said, "Yeah right. That's just the excuse he uses when he wants to go get drunk."
He's 7 years old. I asked him nicely not to speak that way about his father but if it bothered him, maybe we should talk about it. He declined for now but I know this will come up again.
I barely speak of his drinking around my children. My son has also been experiencing some phantom illnesses this week. I am thinking it has a lot more to do with actually seeing his father drunk at the wedding last week and also seeing that I was so angry that we left the hall and left my husband there. Since we don't fight much at all in front of the kids, I guess when we do, it shakes up their mommy safe proofed world quite a bit. It's that world that Mommy made safe for them by not showing her anger and displeasure with Daddy's behavior when they are up and around the house.
Mommy usually saves her anger and fits for when the kids are in bed asleep with their doors closed.

Of course, now, since I don't blow up and flip out when he comes home after drinking and instead try to focus on other things, hopefully he won't feel the strain like I do and won't be frightened or upset inside. I just don't like it when he makes comments like that because it means he sees and feels a lot more than he is expressing to me.
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Old 09-05-2003, 09:21 PM
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Fortunately, Al-Anon has a short story book called "MAMA, WHAT IS DRUNK? That really helped me with that question not long ago...As an adult child I would have rather had the truth than all the made up things I was told.... For me after I found Al-Anon, it was such a relief to find out that it is a disease that affects the whole family...It wasn't my fault or something I had done or not done. Today, I realize that my parents did the best they could with what they had to work with. (60 years ago) KIds, sometimes (in my opinion) can do better with the truth than grown-ups can...
I want my grandchildern to KNOW the truth. So when we got them 11 years ago I read them the book and we talk about the disease of alcoholism including my part in it as it was back then and where I am with it now...They know where I go on Monday nights and why...

Consider yourselves hugged...Been there and done that...
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Old 09-06-2003, 04:46 AM
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Hi,

I answer questions if Myles asks but I don't tell him if it doesn't come up. I figure in time as he gets older the truth will come out.

Ngaire
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Old 09-06-2003, 05:35 AM
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There is a social wroker at the school they had seen for other things(or maybe related) but she did not give them a lot of time. I think I would like the break the alcohol news to them. Anyway, my A would FLIP OUT if I were to take them somewhere-- he is very opposed to counseling or anything like that. If I wanted to do it, fine(which I did) But he would oppose me taking the girls. I might have to do it on the sly, which would not be good.
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Old 09-06-2003, 05:54 AM
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Hmmm, its so hard when kids are involved. Do you go to al-anon meetings? Do you think they are too young for ala-teen? I am not sure at what age kids can start going those meetings. I would think some ala-teen literature might help.

I would think just being honest with them, should they ask questions. If this isn't affecting them directly, supplying them with information wouldn't really be necessary. Perhaps when you go to a counseling session, you could ask what the counselor things.

Many hugs,
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Old 09-06-2003, 04:10 PM
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They really don't ask questions directly about it. They learn about the "antidrug" etc in school, but I think they might have a problem with knowing that their dad is an abuser.

Anyway, the only question they ask is where Daddy is, and I usaully just say that I don't know.(i usually don't,anyway--there are so many places to choose from)

I don't know. They are kind of young for the "hard" truth, and they are not very mature--more innocent. I hate to hurt that!!!
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Old 09-06-2003, 06:55 PM
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My step father was an alcoholic...my mom married him when I was 7 and the split up when I was 14. At one point she tried Alanon ---I think I was 12 and my sister 11, I was terrified of it. I don't know if it was because I never put the drinking together with all of their fighting (much done behind closed doors w/bruises to her---but we kids have ears.) I didn't have anything to say. But he wasn't gone a lot unless he was at work and he didn't just pass out like my dad at 7pm so I guess that though I was little Ms. Responsible Perfectionist, I didn't have a clue. My A likes to disappear ---runs to get a newspaper and doesn't come back for 2 hours. The kids ask where he is ---I used to cover, now I don't. I don't know. I don't want them to have a bad opinion of him but nor do I want to lead him to believe that they are all toddlers w/no questions either. When they ask why he isn't back yet, I tell them that they need to ask him that and they do and then he gets to be the one making lame sounding excuses not me. At some point they will ask and I will tell them the truth. The 12 yr old came out of the garage and said it smelled like marijuana in there. My jaw dropped. How would you know either way? Oh yea from your dad's friend who smokes all the time that you are now not allowed to go to...oops Time is getting short. He gave himself his own answer---he thought it was the gas blower that his s-dad was running. Wheew.
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Old 09-06-2003, 06:56 PM
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This is a really hard topic. My kids are 17, & 18 and for many years they have known that their father has a drinking problem because I screamed things about his drinking to him when they could hear me (gee half the neighborhood heard me). I am not proud of that fact. But I do believe that kids need to know the truth, I only wished that I would have told then in a calm and peaceful way. Anyway it is still a bad situation because my husband blames me because he thinks that the kids don't respect him. He thinks that I filled their heads with lies about him. He doesn't see that they and their friends can see that he drinks to excess and that he gets stupid as a result. Teenagers have very high standards and they are not very forgiving of him and his problem. I wish I had gone to Alanon many years sooner.
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Old 09-06-2003, 07:22 PM
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I left out that when my mom went to Alanon---She sent us to Alateen---that is when I sat in silence. But I don't remember her ever talking to us about it. Rose, have your kids tried to talk to their dad when he's sober, without you? From the horses' mouth so-to-speak?
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