Speaking to your children about your past can be difficult, which is why it's important to give some thought to the matter before they start asking the tough questions. Think about these conversations as opportunities to strengthen your bond with your child and set the stage for further discussion down the line.
Here is some advice to keep in mind as you approach these talks:
- Ask them questions in return: When your children ask you a question about your past, they're often more concerned with what they're facing in their own lives. Asking you questions is sometimes just a way of beginning the conversation. Take their cue and say, "Why do ask?" And, "Do you know kids who are experimenting?"
- Don't change the subject: Don't become so startled by an unexpected question that you simply change the subject when your child asks you something, because then they might not feel comfortable raising a similar topic later. Instead, address the question as best you can in the moment — your child will appreciate that you are truly listening to them and trying to address your concerns.
- You don't have to share everything: As a parent, you have to walk a fine line between maintaining an honest relationship with your child and keeping healthy boundaries intact. Remember that you can be honest without over-sharing — use your discretion to keep your conversation age appropriate and share some truthful things about your life without going overboard.
At Fairwinds Treatment Center, we believe that communicative, supportive family relationships are crucial for maintaining a healthy lifestyle and community. Fairwinds is one of the most highly respected dual diagnosis treatment centers in the nation, so contact us today if you have questions about addiction.
Dr. M.K. (Khal) El-Yousef founded the center in 1989 with the goal of healing patients through his dual diagnosis method of treatment, which involves not only clinical treatment but also therapeutic counseling for long-term, holistic recovery.