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Do I Mention DS's Comment About AW?

Old 11-01-2018, 10:34 AM
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Do I Mention DS's Comment About AW?

So, last night was Halloween (DUH!) and I took DS8 out and AW stayed at home and passed out candy, and drank. Ds and I were gone about 1.5 hours - in that time AW decided that drinking 3/4 of a bottle of wine on no dinner OR lunch, was a good idea. (It was NOT).

Anyway, we get back, DS showers and I make dinner (as usual). I could tell just by her demeanor that AW was dazed and confused, and I just wanted to get DS to eat and head to bed. AW and I and DS talked about the trick-or-treating and who we saw, etc. before he went upstairs. DS comes down for dinner and she asks him the same things we had talked about BEFORE he showered - she didn't remember that.

Then, DS, wanting to show off some of his smarts and the things he's learning (which is good to know my enormous taxes are having benefit), proceeds to 'quiz' AW on some math and science topics. Now, AW is not stupid, and had she been sober she would have most likely answered the questions. Instead, so goes into some nonsense and wants HIM to answer the questions. Umm, he already knows the answer, I already went thru this exercise with him on our walk, so now it's down to her. She can't figure out what he's talking about and then starts arguing with him.

At this point I just tell him, "it's late, no more questions for today - eat your dinner and it is time for bed." He is getting frustrated with her, so I change the subject and get his refocused on something else. I hate to shut down the kid when he's involving us in his learning, but she's getting pissy, and he's getting frustrated.

I go upstairs to have our usual snuggle and prayers before bed, and he says to me - "Dad, that was weird at dinner. Is mom okay?" I said that mom was probably just tired from her long day. I really, REALLY hated lying to my kid, but that was not the time to get into THAT subject, we would have been up half the night.

Last night he also gave her a riddle to figure out, you can decide how that went. It was even difficult for me the first time I heard it, I knew it was a futile move on DS's part. This morning he said, "I went thru the riddle with mom again this morning, she finally got it." I said, "Well, last night was not a good night for trying to explain things to mom." He said, "Isn't that the truth!"

So, after the long intro, my question is this: do I tell AW about convo that DS and I had last night? Chances are she probably doesn't remember ANY of it, but part of me thinks she NEEDS to know that he thought mom was off, way off.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:48 AM
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Absolutely. Why not? It may not "help" anything but all things don't have to "help", she does not need to be protected from this stuff at all, ever.

I would state it in a non "blaming" way, of course, but she should be aware of her behavior, not just that it was toward your Son.

That an 8 year old would ask this:

"Dad, that was weird at dinner. Is mom okay?"

That's not really normal behavior. Worrying about your parent at that age shouldn't be an issue at all, but it surely is.

I can't remember COD, have you talked to your Son about his Mom's alcoholism? If so I'm guessing he may not have caught it all (and why would he, he's a kid!) just that it might be time to review it all with him so that he's not confused when his Mom is not mentally there.

He's obviously a smart kid, understanding the science of alcoholism and how it affects the brain is probably well within his understanding now.

If he understood he wouldn't be asking that question?
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:49 AM
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In my opinion, yes. She needs to see what she is doing to her son. As time goes on, this will only move forward to more serious topics, he won't be so easily diverted.

Ugh. I am sorry friend.
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Old 11-01-2018, 10:49 AM
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Honestly, COD, I think it's more important that you figure out a way to talk to DS about what happened last night, instead of expecting it to be some great revelation for her. She knows she is a mess; she is not ready to deal with it yet (if she ever is).

Meanwhile, he notices. He sees. He knows it isn't right. In lieu of an explanation, he will invent one of his own. And because he's just a kid, it will most likely involve it being a) his fault, and b) his responsibility to fix somehow. I know because this kid was me. "Tired" isn't going to hold up for long.

It sounds like there is a tremendous amount of resentment in your household from all directions. I am sure you believe you are protecting your son from her addiction, but there is alot more going on there than just her drinking, and he is present for all of it, even if it doesn't seem like he is.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:31 AM
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Nope. She's not receptive & very likely to argue with you about it all. Another thing she perceives as you making a big deal out of nothing, exaggerating the impact on DS. You've tried SO many times. She doesn't want to hear it.

Talk to DS for sure - he needs you to validate for him that he's not crazy, mom really IS different from day to night, etc. He needs to know HE'S not crazy as he's going through these experiences with her.

I'm also with sparkle on the "tired" thing - if you don't find a way to talk to him soon, you're going to slowly cease to be a reliable source of info for him & he'll start putting both of you in the same category because it's too hard to separate for a kid. You lying to him about his mom is still lying even if you're doing it to protect him.

This all gets so much harder to normalize as they age.
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Old 11-01-2018, 11:41 AM
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That's true, in fact you have probably already become an unreliable source. He's smart, he knows he can be tired and you can be tired but you don't forget conversations 5 minutes later.

His friends at school were probably all tired today from heavy duty Halloween collecting and perhaps getting to stay up later, but they all remember what they just said.

Being tired and forgetting what you said 5 minutes ago is an exception (we may all have done it from time to time) it's not a norm. So not only are you lying to him, you are challenging his perception, that can't be good?

The reason I suggested also telling your AW is not because I think that she is going to do anything in particular with that information but she might on some level remember it when drunk and that would be helpful perhaps.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:01 PM
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I don't think COD is on the "outs" just yet - sounds like he & DS spend a tremendous amount of quality time together & DS is only really just starting to ask questions.

Definitely there's a short window here between the awareness & the AHA moment for him - but right now, he seems really comfortable talking to dad about everything. (right, COD? I'm making some assumptions based on prior posts, correct me if I'm wrong)

All I'm saying is that when our kids reach out to us respectfully like this for understanding, we owe them that same respect back in how we answer honestly & with deference to their age/maturity because this:

you are challenging his perception
is the thing. When you see & hear & experience things as a kid & trusted people convince you you're wrong, you eventually stop interpreting the cues appropriately. It turns your gut instincts inside-out when you can't tell truth from fiction.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:09 PM
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I’m also of the thinking of why bother trying to talk to someone who is not going to remember it anyway and who you know will become defensive……..been there done that haven’t you, many times I’m sure.

I also think it is far more important to talk to DS truthfully age appropriate of course about the root of her behaviors and how he is NEVER the cause mom’s drinking issue.
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:13 PM
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CentralOhioDad…..if you knew how much he already knows, you would be very surprised. Children absorb all the stuff in their environment....the good and the not so good. They might not be able to understand all of the whys, but they observe and record it, in their brains.
I believe that he is about 9yrs. old, by now...? If I am correct, about that...I can remember, that, by that age, I knew lots more than my parents thought I knew....and, in addition, they are learning what things to NOT reveal that they know. lol....sometimes, they will try to approach it sideways....to scout out your opinions....indirectly....
do you remember when he played the game..."What do you like to drink?"....I don't think that he brought that up, out of the blue. He was already thinking about it...you can bet.
You can be sure that he is very aware of Daytime Dad and Daytime Mom. And, he knows about Nightime Mom and Nithtime Dad....and how they interact with him and each other during day and night.
They are like little sponges....and it is their developmental job to absorb their environment , and the subtle information....All of their time is dedicated to that. Where as, the adults, have a million other things on their minds, besides the immediate environment....In this way, the adults are much more distracted than their kids.

I think every single parent underestimates this about their kids. I am often surprised by what my adult children tell me about what they were aware of, when they were little kids....they remember the most amazing things.....lol...I often tell them to stop telling me----Too much information!

Another factor....he is old enough and smart enough, that he learns lots of things when he is out in the world. with his peers. Kids talk about things, to others...a lot! He has also been exposed to media...like television, and has, undoubtedly seen people drinking on t.v., and, seen advertisements for alcohol....And, by this age, has probably been told, in school, to avoid alcohol and drugs….


I don't see any good reason to not tell your wife about it....unless, you just want to avoid an argument....I doubt that she will make any changes, because of it, though....

It is going to come up, though...sooner or later....denial can only last so long...
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Old 11-01-2018, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by dandylion View Post
I believe that he is about 9yrs. old, by now...? If I am correct, about that...I can remember, that, by that age, I knew lots more than my parents thought I knew.
I remember very little of the day to day of my early childhood but I absolutely knew that my Father was an alcoholic from the time I was about 5. I didn't know what that was, of course - alcohol/alcoholism but I absolutely knew he was drunk and that we had to watch what we did and said and make ourselves scarce.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:14 PM
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i say NO and here's why....your child spoke to YOU about something that was concerning him. namely his drunk mother who for some reason is still living in the house. this is not a game of what mom's remembers. if this private conversation is taken to the drunk mother, she is likely to USE it against the child.........violating his trust.

the days of thinking you are protecting him and sheltering him are way over. yet the boy is FORCED to try and communicate with a drunken adult and live his life with the huge elephant in the room.

the days of TALKING to the drunk mother are also way over. talk's cheap they say.............actions are where it's at.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:14 PM
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Originally Posted by trailmix View Post
I remember very little of the day to day of my early childhood but I absolutely knew that my Father was an alcoholic from the time I was about 5. I didn't know what that was, of course - alcohol/alcoholism but I absolutely knew he was drunk and that we had to watch what we did and said and make ourselves scarce.
Me too! I knew when that small wooden box came down from the top cabinet that it was time for kids to exit the room for a while. I didn't know it was about cocaine at the time but I knew it wasn't good because my mom would join us in the other room to make sure we stayed out of the party area until it was done.

I also noticed most people didn't use their lazy susans to store liquor bottles for easy access. Or that most kids had no idea why only tequila had worms in the bottom of the bottles.

It never raised my eyebrows when a new friend in middle school invited me over one day & they had a quarter keg of beer on tap in the kitchen at all times. It had it's own fridge/cooler & delivery dates. But that seemed pretty normal to me & besides - HER parents were the real problem because they physically fought when they drank. My mom didn't even drink & my dad was very high functioning so I was already rationalizing their behavior over others.

It makes me sick to think about now.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:32 PM
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So, after the long intro, my question is this: do I tell AW about convo that DS and I had last night? Chances are she probably doesn't remember ANY of it, but part of me thinks she NEEDS to know that he thought mom was off, way off.


My motto is always protect the minor child not the alcoholic adult.

COD, I also knew by first grade that my Dad was an A. My heartfelt dream as a little child was that some adult would just level with me and tell me WTH was going on! Of course as you grow older you figure it out but by then you are an entrenched co-conspirator and active participant in the lies and denial.

I looked back after I finally got into AlAnon and therapy and just imagined how different my life would have been if some sober responsible adult had just come to me and said, "This is alcoholism, you didn't cause it and you can't control or cure it, it doesn't mean Dad doesn't love you or that you can't love Dad, but it creates a lot of problems that can be confusing for you. I am always here to talk, to keep you safe, and will answer your questions."

Would have saved me a lot of heartache and anger and bad habits of mind. If that sober responsible adult had been Mom well, OMG that certainly would have been a complete game-changer! I often wonder if someone had spoken to my brothers like that might they have avoided becoming As? I'll never know because no one had the guts to do it.

Keep putting DS and yourself first.
Peace,
B
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:50 PM
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Originally Posted by SparkleKitty View Post
Honestly, COD, I think it's more important that you figure out a way to talk to DS about what happened last night, instead of expecting it to be some great revelation for her. She knows she is a mess; she is not ready to deal with it yet (if she ever is).

Meanwhile, he notices. He sees. He knows it isn't right. In lieu of an explanation, he will invent one of his own. And because he's just a kid, it will most likely involve it being a) his fault, and b) his responsibility to fix somehow. I know because this kid was me. "Tired" isn't going to hold up for long.

It sounds like there is a tremendous amount of resentment in your household from all directions. I am sure you believe you are protecting your son from her addiction, but there is alot more going on there than just her drinking, and he is present for all of it, even if it doesn't seem like he is.
All of this ^ He knows something is wrong and if you aren't honest his imagination will take over and then he might be dealing with those thoughts all alone. I have to tell you from experience with my older kids, I had to earn back their trust because I had covered up for him for so long. Until this last year they weren't quite sure I was telling them the whole truth in trying to protect them. They needed more than anything one parent they could trust and count on.
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Old 11-01-2018, 01:52 PM
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Thank you for all your responses, it adds to the confusion, but also helps me see my failings as well. I do need to be the responsible, truthful, protective and trustworthy parent because she certainly can't be that, at least not after 7:00 at night.

I am going to start, slowly, figuring out what he knows and to what extent. He does open up more to her than to me many time, but I'll see what I can do. I'm a logical, straight to the facts, black-and-white type of guy - these grey areas and child psychology stuff is not my forte`.

Anvilhead - I haven't heard much from you lately - I brought you out of the woodwork. As always, thank you for your no-nonsense response, it's always a good slap in the face.

And I appreciate all the responses, I really do. I've got some work to do. I will keep you posted.

COD
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Old 11-01-2018, 02:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CentralOhioDad View Post
I'm a logical, straight to the facts, black-and-white type of guy - these grey areas and child psychology stuff is not my forte`.
This is totally understandable. You know, I can guarantee you none of the parents here are perfect. We all stumble through to some degree, doing the best we can.

The only reason we know this is because we lived it/experienced it and a common denominator from everyone in this thread is that everyone knew early on.

You know you are lucky in that you have this experience to draw on. While I never married an alcoholic (not sure how I escaped that one but I did haha) I am also no psychologist and I would have just got through it to the best of my ability.

You are thoughtful and you care so much, that's such a great thing! Don't know if you are but if you are kicking yourself, please try not to.

Hang in there COD!
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Old 11-01-2018, 03:49 PM
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CentralOhioDad…...here are my thoughts.....
I think any kind of interrogation....no matter how "sly".....would not be the best way to go. Kids are smart, and he will know that something is up if you start questioning a lot of stuff around drinking wine.
Kids hate to be questioned. I learned this when my kids would come back from a weekend visit to their dad. They didn't want to talk about the details....But, during the next week...they would, slowly mention things that happened or that they wondered about.
I think that a better way is to just talk to him straight....you don't have to make it complicated....He may not say very much or give you much feedback, at the time....because kids seem to need time to digest it. He will begin to ask you questions or bring up his worries or concerns, as he feels like doing it. That way, you are more likely to find out how much he knows, I think.
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Old 11-01-2018, 05:34 PM
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You know Mom drinks too much ... Mom knows Mom drinks too much ... your son knows there's something wrong with Mom and probably suspects she drinks too much ... so why not acknowledge what everybody knows: "Mom was a little off last night, I think she drank too much alcohol". You don't have to get into judgment of Mom and you don't have to get into details - just validating your son's perception that there's something weird.

I am concerned that you're heading into elephant-in-the-living-room territory where everyone talks around the topic and tries to figure out who knows what, who will admit to what. etc. Mom-drinking-too-much is going to be a part of your son's life for a long time - maybe now is the time to start being just factual about it?
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:02 AM
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Hello COD,

I know that you have said before that you and your wife had difficulty even having a child, and that to your wife, your son is really quite a precious miracle. That she adores your son. I can understand that. You have said that around your son, you never disparage your wife (I admire that)--unlike how you speak freely about how you feel about her, here. Perhaps because of her feelings you think that she might actually change her behavior if she thought that your son thought less of her in a way?

If only our disappointment in the behaviors of our alcoholic loved ones were enough!

Growing up with a Mom who is classic, by-the-book ACoA, my sister and I were subjected to how badly she was affected growing up with active alcoholism all around her, how she thinks she was responsible for everyone else's behavior, how she thinks society judges her on every detail of her life, how she thinks that everything about my sister and I is a reflection on her. I can only encourage you to do all you can so that your son will not end up with the same feelings and problems as my mother.

I won't encourage you to leave, COD. I know you have decided to stay. I will pray for all of you and hope that you can speak the truth to your son without malice toward your wife.
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Old 11-02-2018, 04:49 AM
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I do agree with Seren about the "speak truth without malice"....he (and every child) is entitled to love their parent....no matter what.
My children's father was/is an unsavory personality, to say the least. Now, that my children are grown...they have all told me, at different times, that they recognize and appreciate that I never spoke badly about their father...even though they can, now, see that I had plenty of room to do so....
Lol...there were plenty of times that I had to stuff a dish rag in my mouth to keep my bad thoughts to myself, in front of the children....
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