Today’s post is based off a question I got via email from a mother named Monique.
She asked me, “How do I minimize the negative effects of my issues on my kid?”
Monique openly admitted that she’s living a “drug lifestyle” with her partner. And even though she’s working to get her life and issues in order, she realizes that her son needs help too.
And that’s why she reached out to me.
Even though I’m not a parent, I knew I could lean on my experience as a kid growing up in a “drug lifestyle” to help her. So, I sat down and sent Monique a few suggestions and here’s what she had to say,
This is the most helpful information and encouragement I’ve gotten to date so thank you heaps for your help.
Today, I’m sharing 3 tips on how to minimize the negative effects your issues could have on your kid.
Maybe you’re the sober parent who’s dealing with an alcoholic spouse and you’re trying to keep your kid safe and sane.
Or maybe you’re the using parent and like Monique, you know you have problems to sort out and at the same time you want to help your family.
Regardless of your situation, I think today’s post will get you walking in the right direction.
Growing up, my parents made a lot of mistakes. And unfortunately those mistakes had a huge impact on my mental and emotional life.
And sometimes I wonder how different our lives would be today if, like Monique, my parents admitted they needed help and reached out for it.
After you’ve read through today’s post, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section.
If you’re a parent like Monique and you want to minimize the negative effects your issues may have on your kid, what are you doing about it?
If you’re like me, and grew up with alcoholic or abusive parents what do you wish they would’ve done to minimize the impact their choices had on your life? What advice would you give to other parents today?
Your voice, experiences and insights are vital to this community. And what you have to share is not only unique but it may be exactly what someone else needs to read.
Thank you, as always, for reading, commenting and sharing. I do appreciate it!
Until Next Tuesday.
#1 Dump The Denial
Denial is the glue that holds dysfunctional families together. It shows up when the alcoholic denies he has a problem. When one or both parents choose to look the other way when abuse is present. Or when a kid learns it’s safer to ignore the trouble they see at home then to talk about it.
Denial gives the dysfunctional family a false sense of stability and control. Without denial, a family might have to face their problems head on. They might be forced to deal with their biggest fears. Life as they thought they knew it would come smashing down. And then what?
A kid growing up in a home governed by denial learns to doubt their perception of reality. They grow up not knowing how to process, respect or even trust what they feel. They become adults who are weighed down by painful family secrets and if left unchecked, those secrets, held under lock and key via denial, will keep the cycle of dysfunction spinning.
If you want to help yourself and your family, you can start by dumping the denial. If there’s a problem – look at it. If there are issues that need sorting – get professional help. You don’t have to throw your entire life and family upside down in a day. But just the willingness to look at what’s not working could be the first right step you take in a healthier direction.
As Naeem Callaway once beautifully said, “Sometimes the smallest step in the right direction ends up being the biggest step in your life. Tiptoe if you must, but take a step.”
That step not only benefits you but also your kid and generations of your family to come.
#2 Quit Playing By The Rules
In her book, “It Will Never Happen To Me!” Children of Alcoholics: As Youngsters-Adolescents-Adults, Claudia Black identified three unwritten rules that members of the alcoholic family abide by. And they are,
- Don’t Talk
- Don’t Trust
- Don’t Feel
For a kid growing up in any dysfunctional environment, Don’t Talk means don’t talk to anyone about what goes on at home.
Don’t Trust means you know better than to trust, rely or put your faith into people that are supposed to be protecting and looking out for you.
Don’t Feel means don’t share what you feel and don’t feel what you feel because it’s not safe to.
A kid who grows up in an environment where they can’t talk, trust or feel becomes an adult who goes out into the real world not knowing how to talk, trust or feel.
So if you’re a parent who’s worried about the impact your behavior may have on your kid then stop playing by the rules!
Instead of silence, talk to your kid about what goes on at home. Show them that you’re someone they can trust and listen to them when they try to express their feelings.
I know it’s easier said than done but again, if you’re willing to try, the littlest, most consistent effort on your part can go a hell of a long way.
#3 Connect The Dots Backwards
If, like Monique, you’re looking to minimize the negative impact your issues may have on your kid, a great way to start could be by connecting the dots backwards.
Here’s what I mean.
I have a book by Susan Forward called, Toxic Parents; Overcoming Their Hurtful Legacy and Reclaiming Your Life. As you can probably tell from the title, the book is all about helping adults who grew up with dysfunctional parents.
A great way for you to start to connect the dots backwards would be to pick up and read a book like Toxic Parents and apply it to your kid’s life. Read it like your kid might 15 to 20 years from now. See if you can see yourself in the parents that are described throughout the book.
And ask yourself what can you start to do today so that your kid won’t need a book like Toxic Parents in the future.
P.S. Want to check out the two books I mentioned in today’s post? I’ve left links for you below.