Guest Post: Rebuilding Trust
It takes courage, strength, and commitment to recover from the disease of addiction.
By Jerry Moe, National Director, Hazelden Betty Ford Children’s Program; Advisory Board, National Association for Children of Addiction (NACOA).
Congratulations. It takes courage, strength, and commitment to recover from the disease of addiction. Recovery is the greatest gift you can give your children. It opens the door to many possibilities, including the opportunity to rebuild trust with your children. In early recovery, it’s easy to focus on what has been lost: trust, time, relationships. This can result in a strong desire to “make everything right” immediately. Recovery takes time—slow down and take a deep breath!
Parents can begin the process of rebuilding trust with children by offering structure, consistency, and regular routines. Keep promises and when you can’t follow through, sit down and honestly explain why. Don’t try to hide your feelings. Tell your children, “I’m feeling sad, mad, scared, (or whatever), but I’m okay. I have other adults who are helping me.” Children often know more than you realize. Listen, and allow your children to express their big feelings without getting defensive or immediately trying to fix things.
While it’s important to apologize, say your words and then move forward and get involved in your children’s lives. Actions speak much louder than words, and your children want your time and attention! Read a book together, shoot hoops, or take a walk. Do a craft project, kick a soccer ball around, or cook a meal. You might try committing to weekly one-hour play dates and plan a few regular family dinners together.
You’ll have lots of opportunities to practice patience, because your children need time and space to learn to trust you again. Give them a chance to heal. Slow down your expectations. Tell them daily that you are working on your healing with the help of safe people.
Keep being the best parent you can be, one day at a time. Progress, not perfection.
Karli & Me Activity Book
This book can support you in building children’s resilience when faced with the unique issues presented by a parent’s addiction.
Karli’s 7 Cs
This adult-child collaborative coloring page helps families have relaxed time together.
Remember the 7 Cs!
Seven important reminders for children whose parents struggle with addiction.
A Friend Like You
Conversations between Salia and Karli.
Parental Addiction: Healing Families Together
Join us for the second webinar in this series in which we examine how parental addiction affects children.
The Child’s Voice: How Parental Addiction Affects Young Children
Join us for the first webinar in this series in which we examine how parental addiction affects children.
Una amiga como tú
Es importante tener un amigo comprensivo.