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Talking to children about mothers addiction and absence
I am a step parent of two girls, their mother is constantly in and out of jail and keeps getting kicked out of treatments for using heroin. this had been this way for three years and we have just been telling the girls their real mom is sick and needs help first before she can see them, when she is on drugs she is abusive and we have had 8 protective orders. It is court ordered she finish treatment in the custody case and her many criminal cases. We decided the mother will not see her kids till she can successfully complete treatment but she has gotten kicked out of the last 4. It has been 1 year since she has had any contact or attempted contact with the children and I am looking at some guidance as to what we should tell the kids ? They asked today if she has gotten any better and I didn't know what to say of the truth would be too hurtful (she went back to jail for a long time)or to comfort them with a lie (that she is making progress) when she isn't even interested in sobering up even if it's court ordered. What is too much and what is too little to include in this conversation? The kids are 7 & 9.
As the child of a crack addict, I can tell you that at that age they know something isn't right. I was nearly eight when my little sister and I picked up on our mothers behavior. That she was doing what good mommy's would not normally do. You will do them a great service if you are honest with them. I would tell them that mommy has made poor decisions and has broken the law. Now she has to make up for her poor choices. I'll be straightforward, it's going to hurt. They will be upset, and they will need your love, support, and comfort. In the long run, they will trust and respect you greatly for being honest with them when no-one else would. If you need or want any further discussion you are more than welcome to email me at email@example.com to bounce any more specific questions off of me.