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How do I talk to my child about a drug addicted parent?

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I'm a single father who is raising a beautiful 7 year old girl on my own. Lately she has been asking about her mother's whereabouts. I've had custody of my daughter since she was 4. Her mother is a hard drug addict which is the reason I took my child from her. At first we had contact with her mom but as time went by and her mother got progressively worse, I started to realize that she had no plans on bettering her life and being a good parent. So I decided to not let her be a part of my daughter's life until she could prove to, not only me but the courts as well, that she was fit to be a parent. That was over a year ago and her mom has pretty much chosen drugs over her daughter. My daughter is very intelligent and has lately been asking me about her mom. Up until now I have only told her that her mom was not around because she wasn't making good choices. I want to have the type of relationship with my daughter where she feels she can always come to me and trust me so I want to be honest with her about her mother's drug use but I'm not sure if she is old enough or if she'll understand what I tell her. Should I tell her the truth about her mom or should I wait until she is a little bit older? And if I should tell her the truth, how do I bring up the subject?

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