How to Talk to Your Child About Your Rehab
As a parent, your top goal in life is to keep your children happy and safe from physical and emotional harm. However, when you come to the point when you realize you need to attend addiction treatment, how are you supposed to help your child understand that, although mommy or daddy is leaving for a little while, they don’t have to be upset?
By speaking to your child before you go away to rehab, you can help them understand why their parent won’t be home for a bit and the positive results your absence will have.
Be Honest with Them
As much as you would like to think that your child hasn’t noticed the changes that addiction has caused to your behavior or demeanor, it’s likely that they have. Be honest with them and explain why you’re going away and where you’re going. This helps set up a more open and truthful line of communication that you can continue to build upon when you complete your treatment.
Use Language They Understand
While teenagers and older children may understand words like ‘“addiction” or “alcoholism,” younger children often don’t. You can speak more frankly about your disease with your older children; however, consider telling younger children that you’re sick and need to go to the doctor to get better.
Validate Their Feelings
No matter what age your children are, they will likely feel some sadness at their parent leaving home for a while. On the other hand, they may feel angry after being affected by your substance abuse.
Whichever emotions your child is feeling, ensure them that those feelings are valid and, once you receive help, you will be able to work through those emotions and the issues that caused them, together.
Assure Them It Isn’t Their Fault
Children may assume that they are the reason you drink or that you’re going away because of them, leaving them feeling guilty and ashamed for something they didn’t do. Assure your child that they had nothing to do with your disease and, if anything, you are getting help because of how much you love them.