Blogs


Notices

What about the kids?

Old 02-13-2011, 09:06 PM
  # 1 (permalink)  
Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2011
Posts: 74
What about the kids?

I keep coming back to this...my kids have NO IDEA that their dad is an alcoholic...they wouldn't even know what that meant, I guess, but he is one of those that might have a couple of beers at dinner, but does the vast majority of his drinking when they're already in bed. Even then, you mostly wouldn't know he was drinking, except that he talks a bit more. I'm not excusing what he's doing, I'm just wondering, if I don't join him in NC, how in the world would I explain it to them? Not that an eight and five year old get to decide...I'm just trying to work this through in my mind. How do I tell them this horrible, ugly thing is going on in their lives when they have no evidence of that? And you know, I can't remember what thread I read this in or who wrote it, but someone said something about how sometimes it is the non-alcholic who causes more chaos in the family, and I've started to wonder if that isn't true of me. I mean, that couldn't often be the case if the alcoholic was mean or violent, but that's not the case here. I'm the one that is always worrying about him...stressed out about how he's "feeling"...trying to figure out how to fix it, and then I don't have as much left to give the kids...my patience is not what it should be...I'm not in the moment nearly as much as I should be. I can't allow myself to be the problem parent...what am I thinking? Clearly, I have been enabling, but now that I know better, I am positive I will do better b/c that behavior clearly wasn't working. Anyway, I'm not sure what I'm asking for...I'm just talking I guess...
HeyImme is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to HeyImme For This Useful Post:
Live (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-13-2011, 09:35 PM
  # 2 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Australia
Posts: 281
Hi HeyImme,
Well, I'm not sure how this relates to your situation, but it could. A friend of mine and I were talking today about her alcoholic husband. He's the garden variety type. He has too much to drink at times and then puts himself to bed. My friend was wondering if there was something wrong with her because she doesn't really have a problem with his drinking anymore. She also drinks, but not as much as him. She said that she just goes about her business and doesn't give it too much thought. He's still a functioning alcoholic and brings home a lot of money, so on that front, they're not affected. She said she's at a place in her life where she puts herself and her children's happiness first, although she has the monetary means to make things a lot easier, ie, she has the money to go out, go shopping etc. I told her that she's doing what people are told to do in Al-Anon. To keep their focus on themselves and not their drinking partners. My ex partner has psychosis when he drinks too much and becomes violent, so there's no possibility of us co-habiting due to this. Even though I believe any type of alcoholism is hard on family and friends, I have to admit, sometimes I wish my ex would be the garden variety type so we can still be a family of sorts. But at the same time, I know alcoholism progresses and it's unrealistic to go down the path of the 'what ifs' and 'if onlys'.

Maybe Al-Anon would be helpful to you? They teach us the three C's. We didn't cause it. We can't control it. We can't cure it. Living with an active alcoholic partner is difficult to say the least. If you're feeling like it's affecting your ability to be there emotionally, physically and mentally for your kids and yourself, maybe it's worth looking at Al-Anon, counselling etc. And another thing, please don't be hard on yourself. Your at the start of your own journey of recovery and there's nothing wrong with the way your feeling. If we all knew the answers, or knew the perfect thing to do and say when faced with alcoholism, there'd be no need for Al-Anon, AA and forums like this. I hope I made sense? I feel like I'm rambling a bit, lol. All the best in your journey HeyImme.
Floss is offline  
The Following 5 Users Say Thank You to Floss For This Useful Post:
Eight Ball (02-14-2011), HeyImme (02-14-2011), Live (02-14-2011), Smallsteps (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 02:02 AM
  # 3 (permalink)  
Member
 
Thumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,444
My kids were 3, 8, 10.

I think they had more of an idea of the drinking but rarely was their dad stumbling around or slurring his words. He was crabby sometimes but he was not verbally or physically abusive to any of us. When things came to a head, he went to treatment. At that time I explained about alcholism and the behaviors their dad had (that they could see/relate to) that made him an alcoholic. I should have had that discussion earlier.

When we divorced I told them that adults sometimes have problems that kids do not always understand or see. They are adult issues. Sometimes those problems are so big they can not be fixed and the only solution is to live apart. It has nothing to do with the kids. It is not their fault. I did tell that that mom always tries to make the best decisions for all of us, including them.

Xah spun out of control when I filed for divorce and two things happened. 1) they could see much more erratic bahavior which was confusing for them. The drinking increased. They worried. They felt like I was doing something very wrong. 2) He told them things like I didn't love him, I was wrecking our family, I refused to go to counseling like I was making them do because I didn't care about the family, I was wrong, he yelled at them for being overwhelming and interrupting one night and that is why we were getting divorced, I didn't have to move I was just being mean (we moved 30 miles away to a place I could afford). I suspect he told them I didn't love them but I didn't hear that one with my own ears. He went on long drunken rants towards me that they heard. 3) He went long periods of time not seeing them, not showing up when he said he would, etc. In their little minds this was turned on me at first because I was the reason we were not in the same house. I think they understand this is not my fault now - I'm not really sure. Their dad moved far away in November so perhaps that is the only reason.

I'll be honest. They did not understand. They repeatedly told me it was not the best decision. They fought with one another constantly. They were extremely mad at me. That all did settle down but it took longer then I had hoped. They still think I made the wrong decision but they accept it now. In our house, before the divorce and he went off the deep end, I was the problem in the home. I was angry. I was controlling. I was inflexible. There was no joy. None. This contributed to their sense of confusion with what was going on (and blaming me I suppose).

The entire situation breaks my heart and I regret so much not protecting them from his erratic behavior that ensued after I filed for divorce. I regret very much my own behavior that prolonged their healing and feelings of security. By that I mean I struggled a lot with keeping an even keel and not exploding and slamming things or yelling. I have always struggled with that (still do - my own mother did) but I am focused now, less overwhelmed, and have found security of my own, so I do a much better job of controlling that. I have also brought joy back in the home - which is also not easy for me. Isn't that terrible but I have to think about making it happen or I tend to be constantly serious and miss the small moments to laugh and find joy in the day. I can focus on that now though, and not the crazy, insecure life of alcoholism.

When I decided to file for divorce I didn't see any other choice for me. That isn't to say that I think divorce is the only choice but it was my only doable choice at the time. I don't regret it but I know the kids have paid a price. In our situation I think the price was smaller then that of growing up in the house with a crazy mother and alcoholic father. My focus now is on just being the best parent I can be and pray that one day my kids will understand.

ETA: No sure why I wrote such a rambling novel. It is very late here and I don't have time to edit so I apoligize!
Thumper is offline  
The Following 8 Users Say Thank You to Thumper For This Useful Post:
Cyranoak (02-14-2011), kudzujean (02-14-2011), lillamy (02-14-2011), Live (02-14-2011), LS2 (02-14-2011), nodaybut2day (02-14-2011), PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 08:12 AM
  # 4 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Location: Southwest
Posts: 1,207
Please remember that your children are little. I was chastised for telling my kids that Daddy drinks too much beer. They were asking questions and I tried to be honest, but the counselor said "nope. they don't need to know that at this age."

I like what the others have said: that grown-ups make decisions that kids don't understand and you both love them. that you have decided to live apart.

and I agree with Thumper on bringing the joy back into the house. make sure they know that they have a good life, even when it doesn't feel that way.

I don't want my kids to feel disadvantaged. I think that will hurt them in the long run, so I try to protect them from the ugly things, but mine are young - 9, 8 and 3. The older two know a little more, but not nearly everything. they don't really undersatnd, but they don't need to understand, their main need is to feel secure.

stella27 is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to stella27 For This Useful Post:
Live (02-14-2011), LS2 (02-14-2011), PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), Thumper (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 08:31 AM
  # 5 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 2,047
Great post Thumper...

...I think you put wonderfully into words the answers to a question I see on this forum over, and over again-- the struggle over how divorce/break-ups affect the children. I believe there is no definitive answer, but your post comes as close as I've ever seen.

Sometimes it's clear that a divorce has to happen. Sometimes it is clear there is still hope. But, it seems to me, often it is not clear, and then the only thing you can do is make the best decision you can at that time, which is to take care of you so you can take care of your children.

Personally, as a child of divorce, I can tell you I did get over it. I was angry as a child, but as an adult I'm very grateful my mother made that brave decision. In retrospect, it's clear staying would have been very, very bad. I simply wasn't equipped to understand that as a 4 year old.

And, Thumper, I too degenerated into an angry parent because my partner's drinking drained me utterly and completely. While yours was probably minor, I was a horrible, angry, yelling father, and the fact I did not hit my daughter does not mean I didn't do an enormous amount of emotional damage between her ages of 5-14.

Thanks again for the wonderful post.

Cyranoak

Originally Posted by Thumper View Post
My kids were 3, 8, 10.

I think they had more of an idea of the drinking but rarely was their dad stumbling around or slurring his words. He was crabby sometimes but he was not verbally or physically abusive to any of us. When things came to a head, he went to treatment. At that time I explained about alcholism and the behaviors their dad had (that they could see/relate to) that made him an alcoholic. I should have had that discussion earlier.

When we divorced I told them that adults sometimes have problems that kids do not always understand or see. They are adult issues. Sometimes those problems are so big they can not be fixed and the only solution is to live apart. It has nothing to do with the kids. It is not their fault. I did tell that that mom always tries to make the best decisions for all of us, including them.

Xah spun out of control when I filed for divorce and two things happened. 1) they could see much more erratic bahavior which was confusing for them. The drinking increased. They worried. They felt like I was doing something very wrong. 2) He told them things like I didn't love him, I was wrecking our family, I refused to go to counseling like I was making them do because I didn't care about the family, I was wrong, he yelled at them for being overwhelming and interrupting one night and that is why we were getting divorced, I didn't have to move I was just being mean (we moved 30 miles away to a place I could afford). I suspect he told them I didn't love them but I didn't hear that one with my own ears. He went on long drunken rants towards me that they heard. 3) He went long periods of time not seeing them, not showing up when he said he would, etc. In their little minds this was turned on me at first because I was the reason we were not in the same house. I think they understand this is not my fault now - I'm not really sure. Their dad moved far away in November so perhaps that is the only reason.

I'll be honest. They did not understand. They repeatedly told me it was not the best decision. They fought with one another constantly. They were extremely mad at me. That all did settle down but it took longer then I had hoped. They still think I made the wrong decision but they accept it now. In our house, before the divorce and he went off the deep end, I was the problem in the home. I was angry. I was controlling. I was inflexible. There was no joy. None. This contributed to their sense of confusion with what was going on (and blaming me I suppose).

The entire situation breaks my heart and I regret so much not protecting them from his erratic behavior that ensued after I filed for divorce. I regret very much my own behavior that prolonged their healing and feelings of security. By that I mean I struggled a lot with keeping an even keel and not exploding and slamming things or yelling. I have always struggled with that (still do - my own mother did) but I am focused now, less overwhelmed, and have found security of my own, so I do a much better job of controlling that. I have also brought joy back in the home - which is also not easy for me. Isn't that terrible but I have to think about making it happen or I tend to be constantly serious and miss the small moments to laugh and find joy in the day. I can focus on that now though, and not the crazy, insecure life of alcoholism.

When I decided to file for divorce I didn't see any other choice for me. That isn't to say that I think divorce is the only choice but it was my only doable choice at the time. I don't regret it but I know the kids have paid a price. In our situation I think the price was smaller then that of growing up in the house with a crazy mother and alcoholic father. My focus now is on just being the best parent I can be and pray that one day my kids will understand.

ETA: No sure why I wrote such a rambling novel. It is very late here and I don't have time to edit so I apoligize!
Cyranoak is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to Cyranoak For This Useful Post:
Live (02-14-2011), PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), Thumper (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 08:33 AM
  # 6 (permalink)  
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: Miles from Nowhere
Posts: 396
"In our situation I think the price was smaller then that of growing up in the house with a crazy mother and alcoholic father."

As someone who spent all my preschool years in such a situation, I agree the price was smaller.

No one is doing the kids any favor to stay in a situation where a parent is an active alcoholic--and steadily getting worse.
kudzujean is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to kudzujean For This Useful Post:
Live (02-14-2011), Thumper (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 08:40 AM
  # 7 (permalink)  
Member
 
pixilation's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Posts: 756
My 8 and 15yo's know. He drinks around all the kids, doesn't care. He thinks it's funny to have the kids "fetch" him beer from the fridge too. 2yo knows that beer is "daddy's icky pop".
pixilation is offline  
The Following 4 Users Say Thank You to pixilation For This Useful Post:
Live (02-14-2011), PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), StarCat (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 09:10 AM
  # 8 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
 
Seren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 10,614
Blog Entries: 8
(((HeyImme)))....I'm sorry to hear what you are going through!

Based on what others have shared here in the past, it seems to me that children always know more than we believe they do, regardless of how much we believe we have protected and shielded them from an alcoholic spouse/parent.

Cynical One recently posted a thread about how to talk to children in an age-appropriate manner about all of this. I hope that you will find some useful information there.

Huge hugs, HG
Seren is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Seren For This Useful Post:
PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 09:15 AM
  # 9 (permalink)  
Member
 
Thumper's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Posts: 3,444
Originally Posted by Cyranoak View Post
.And, Thumper, I too degenerated into an angry parent because my partner's drinking drained me utterly and completely.
Um no. I completely understand and my behavior was not minor. It was truely what brought me to the bottom and led to my leaving, even though I felt like I was throwing my kids under the bus to save myself. I had to save myself or I was the bus.


Originally Posted by kudzujean View Post
"In our situation I think the price was smaller then that of growing up in the house with a crazy mother and alcoholic father."

As someone who spent all my preschool years in such a situation, I agree the price was smaller.
I appreciate hearing that. Thank you.
Thumper is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Thumper For This Useful Post:
PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 09:40 AM
  # 10 (permalink)  
Forum Leader
 
Seren's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 10,614
Blog Entries: 8
Oh, I found that link that perhaps might provide some additionally useful information!

http://www.soberrecovery.com/forums/...s-alcohol.html

Hugs, HG
Seren is offline  
The Following 2 Users Say Thank You to Seren For This Useful Post:
PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), Thumper (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 09:43 AM
  # 11 (permalink)  
Member
 
nodaybut2day's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Quebec
Posts: 2,708
My DD is only 30 months. I left her dad when she was 15 months. I plan on using the line "Your father was/is very ill and because of that, it wasn't safe for him to stay with us". I expect there to be more questions as she grows up, and I fully expect to be the Bad Guy for a time, while she figures out who is responsible and how she feels about it. I hope that eventually she and I can discuss things, but I'm trying very hard to let go of the outcome of it all

Obviously, this is all in the future...I'll let you guys know how it goes, in...5 years or so.
nodaybut2day is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to nodaybut2day For This Useful Post:
PHIZ007 (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 01:24 PM
  # 12 (permalink)  
Member
 
JenT1968's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Location: UK
Posts: 1,149
Blog Entries: 1
dd is 2, she was 8 months old when we seperated, ds is 7 - he was 5. for dd our set-up apart is normal, for ds, he still asks if we will ever live all together again and I say no, and I'm sorry that he is sad/angry/hurt by that, but we both love you and dd very much and you love us.

I have told him the reason that we don't live together are adult ones that he doesn't have to worry about, and I'm sorry that it has affected him, but emphasised our love for him and dd.

Ds knows that daddy can only look after him sometimes, he knows that daddy is breathalysed, I have explained that daddy has an illness that sometimes affects how he thinks and can mean he isn't safe to have ds on his own, and that this machine detects chemicals in daddy to do with that illness (ex said it detected "bugs", I am honest with my children, but it has to be age appropriate). Later I have told him that the illness means daddy can't control how much alcohol he drinks and that affects the way he thinks. I've read the ACOA stuff, I am not going to protect his image at the expense of their development, but I also try hard to be careful that I am not loading my perceptions, feelings or issues re him onto them.

ds had a horrible relationship with ex before I left, ds would wake up screaming for daddy to stop snoring because it was keeping him awake (on another floor, honestly, I've never heard anything like it), he saw ex pased out on the kitchen floor, the toilet, in the garden, he was in my arms when ex thretened to tear my face off and prevented me from leaving the house. I had to take the children out on a sunday morning because the sound of their footsteps enraged him as he tried to sleep off the alcohol, he was mean and erratic and drunk, and then he brought a strange man home who got into ds's bed drunk whilst ex was passed out in the lounge one wednesday night.

DS remembers little of this, I don't remind him, because I am glad these things are distant not an ongoing nightmare shaping his psyche. His relationship with his father now although short in time is much more positive. Ex often cancels or doesn't turn up for contact and DS gets very disappointed.

I know yours is not the same situation, but I am a much better parent now that we are seperated, and so is ex (because it doesn't take up too much of his time). being together as a family is only better for children's development if the family unit is functional, dysfunction breeds dysfunction, and I am grateful I live in an age where I have the option to choose not to perpetuate that.

Just my ESH (()).

Last edited by JenT1968; 02-14-2011 at 01:30 PM. Reason: edited to add "try hard", because I don't always succeed being objective here
JenT1968 is offline  
The Following 3 Users Say Thank You to JenT1968 For This Useful Post:
bookwyrm (02-17-2011), PHIZ007 (02-14-2011), wicked (02-14-2011)
Old 02-14-2011, 01:35 PM
  # 13 (permalink)  
A work in progress
 
LexieCat's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Location: South Jersey
Posts: 16,633
My kids told me recently that they were confused about why their dad and I divorced because they never saw us fight. And we rarely did. He was sober before we got married, and I simply no longer wanted to be in the marriage. It had nothing to do with his alcoholism--if anything, I resented him because he was too "good" all the time.

I think divorce is always hard on kids, but I would agree that explanations about alcoholism can wait until they are older--particularly if dad doesn't act out when he drinks.

I also think, though, that if kids are well cared for and know they are loved and safe, they are pretty resilient.
LexieCat is offline  
The Following User Says Thank You to LexieCat For This Useful Post:
wicked (02-14-2011)

Currently Active Users Viewing this Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off




All times are GMT -7. The time now is 05:31 AM.