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How to help my kids manage?

Old 04-30-2005, 12:34 PM
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How to help my kids manage?

I am a single mother of two young boys, 8 and 9 yrs old. They have never really had their alcoholic father in thier life, he has always chosen to pop in and out. Three months ago he spent the weekend with them after not having seen them in 2 1/2 yrs. I have never denied him seeing them, even though he has set them up for disappointments over and over. This time, though, he really set them up for the biggest disappointment ever. He promised them a trip to Florida where he lives, 4 days at Disney, the whole nine yards. He has not called them now in six weeks, and I know this trip is not going to happen. Being that they are older now, this is really the toughest one for us so far. I don't sugar coat the situation, but I do feel the need to protect them from it somewhat. What I'm struggling with right now, and what brought me to this site, is I don't know what exactly to tell them? Up till now, I have pretty much said "your dad has a lot of problems, and he deals with them in a way that is not fair to you, but we can't change it'.....things like that. They know from him that he has been in trouble with the law for drinking and driving. Should I be 'explaining' this behavior to them? I know his thought process is seriously skewed from his drinking, but how much do my kids need to know? I would greatly appreciate any advice from those who have been there! I also apologize for going on like this but it's been a long time coming, no one I know knows how to deal with this. Thanks so much.
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Old 04-30-2005, 12:41 PM
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My daughter has issues with her father as well.

What I tell her is the truth when she asks. I dont offer the information, I dont cover for him, and if she asks me a specific question... I answer it honestly.

I dont know how many times I have told her .."Your Dad loves you, just not the way you want to be loved"

I know its not much help, and there is no way to keep them from being hurt. That is the hardest part.
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Old 04-30-2005, 12:43 PM
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Hey EH, welcome to Sober Recovery.
I have found that my kids always appreciated honesty in any situation.
I bet your kids do too.
I don't think you need to sugar coat anything, just tell them the truth.
They've probably figured out most of it on their own, but having some dialogue about it will help them work through it.
It's hard for kids to have someone promising them great things and never coming through.
However, disappointment is a part of life and they need to know how to cope with it.
Don't apologize for "going on".
We're here to listen.
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Old 04-30-2005, 05:01 PM
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Well thanks very much for those Gabe and Cynay. Wouldn't it be nice to just have a crystal ball that tells you your children will be just fine? LOL
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Old 04-30-2005, 05:32 PM
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I think what you're telling them is just fine. I think I would change "want" to "need" because children "need" to be loved the way they need to be loved. It would also set the scene for discussions as they mature. "Wants" and "needs" are different. They need to understand, as they get older, just how "needs" affect their relationships. Then they know what they "want" and what they "need" in their relational picks.

The need to be loved in the way we need to be loved is primary. The want is that our partner deems it vital to learn our language.
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Old 04-30-2005, 08:25 PM
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Sounds as if you're doing a pretty decent job with them. Good for you. Please consider taking them to alanon meetings suited for their age. Or find a therapist/counsellor who specializes in addictions and take them there. They do need to get the full story about the alcoholism as soon as possible. It's time for them to find out that dad is really sick with a disease called alcoholism. It will, hopefully, be woven into their very being with continual education. It may also teach them at an early age that they don't want to ever drink. And, don't forget to find meetings for yourself.
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Old 05-01-2005, 05:39 AM
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You guys are great! I had a long talk with my boys last night. They were asking about our 'trip', which led to other questions. I answered them honestly, even though I knew it was hard for them. The honesty I gave them when they were 4 and 5 is a lot different (and a lot tougher) than the honesty I give them at 8 and 9. I had them in counseling a couple of years ago, and am happy to say we were discharged from care. But I think more may be in order. I don't want them growing up thinking for one second this has anything to do with them. I also don't want them constantly searching for his love, attention and affection and running into a brick wall every time. It's hard enough to learn to let go as an adult, how in the heck do kids do it?
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Old 05-01-2005, 06:50 AM
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The disease and the effects are ongoing. I have a niece who was married to an alcoholic, divorced him and is now again involved with a guy and her codieisms are in full swing. I tried talking to her in a round about way about it and she said she was glad she went to alanon when married to her exA and doesn't think she needs it anymore. I couldn't tell her that she's already going down that same path. I can only sit back and hope she wakes up before she marries the idiot.

The point I'm trying to make is that your sons are still occasionally exposed to the alcoholic and that ongoing treatment might be a good idea. They'd understand mroe now that they're older. That's why I suggested finding alanon for kids. Just like the alcoholic with AA..it's a lifetime disease, they're just in remission. They will continually need help and guidance for the rest of their lives to stay sober. Same for us alanoners. Mine hasn't drank in 18 years, but I am still feeling the effects when he's a dry-drunk. And my son who is 4 months sober.

You're doing well and know where your head is. You're a good mom.
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Old 05-01-2005, 07:08 AM
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Welcome EternalHope,there is a great program for kids,called al-ateen.You can get information about this program either through AA and or Al-anon.Alcoholism is the family disease.All suffer and all can recover through these great programs.Also may i suggest that you get as much information about alcoholism.,as you can..You and your kids are no longer all alone.Fellowship,in recovery..
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Old 05-01-2005, 05:12 PM
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Thanks all! I was digging in my closet today and found some old al-anon books that my Mom gave me, I'm going to start by trying to get some literature I think. Even though I have some great friends and family, I do sometimes feel all alone in this. Though they love us very much, no one lives it with us, you know? Getting things out here has made me feel better, and perhaps made me realize that the problem is still around even when the drinker is not. I'm glad I visited, you guys are very wise.
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