How Do I Tell My Young Children About My Alcoholism?

Dear Sober Dad,

My kids are 10 and eight. I have six months sober. How do I explain to them about my alcoholism? The good news is that I no longer ruin family vacations.

– Matt B., Mitchell, South Dakota

Dear Matt,

First, Sober Dad congratulates you on your sobriety. We say nothing is a big deal, but six months is a very big deal.

One of Sober Dad’s favorite expressions is “What you’re doing speaks so loudly, I can hardly hear a word you’re saying.” Continue reading “How Do I Tell My Young Children About My Alcoholism?”

How Do I Discipline My Kids Without Feeling Like A Hypocrite?

Dear Sober Dad,

Our eight-year-old smashed a vase in the living room with a baseball bat. He won’t admit it, but we are certain he did it on purpose, because he was mad at us, because we wouldn’t let him stay up as late as his brother.

I’m just starting down the road to recovery. After hiding my own addiction to painkillers for years, I’m just beginning to get a sense of cause and effect, of consequences. He gets an allowance, but it would take him forever to pay for the vase. How do we teach him that something like that isn’t okay? How do I teach and reinforce those ideas to my son when I’m figuring it out myself?

– Erica K., Louisville, Kentucky

Dear Erica,

Sober Dad wants to know why you have such an expensive vase in your living room if you have an eight-year-old, as well as a slightly older brother. What exactly are you thinking? It was just a matter of time, don’t you realize?

Seriously, it’s tough. You want to have nice art pieces in your home, but this may not be the right stage of life for displaying them. Accidents will happen, and so will fits of temper. So if you have another vase, you may want to stow it in the attic for a few years or lend it to your local art museum for display until your sons reach the age of maturity. Continue reading “How Do I Discipline My Kids Without Feeling Like A Hypocrite?”

How Can I Stop Arguing With My Kids?

Dear Sober Dad,

How do I avoid power- driven arguments with my eight-year-old daughter? For me, sobriety has involved a lot of work trying to clear up what…maybe didn’t work very well in my own childhood. So, I’m trying to learn, grow, and change, but I still find myself saying things that could have come straight out of the mouths of either of my parents.

-Katie P., Cleveland Heights, OH

Dear Katie,

First, Sober Dad commends you for your high level of self-awareness!

Another Mom—heck, your own mom—might have put all the blame on the child, as in, “Why doesn’t my daughter listen to me?”

Oh, she’s listening.

She just doesn’t like what you’re saying. Continue reading “How Can I Stop Arguing With My Kids?”