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how to explain drug addiction to a 4 year old

Discussion in 'Share Your Story Here' started by ashley90, Apr 25, 2016.

  1. ashley90

    ashley90 Member

    I am a 26 year old, single mom to a wonderful little girl, whose dad is an addict. We have been separated almost 3 years but my daughter has kept a relationship with him until December of 2015. My daughter has seen things in 4 years no small child should have too. Now she has only seen him a few times since Christmas and is missing him, deeply. I do not want to make him out to a bad person or imply to her that he does not love her. I'm just looking for advice on how to explain why she can not see or be with him right now without slandering him to his daughter... any input would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you.
  2. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Hi, @ashley90. How beautiful that you want to educate your daughter about her dad's illness. That's a wonderful thing.

    I found this article online and I think it offers up some great advice:

    How to Talk to a Child about a Parent's Addiction

    I think the most important thing is to be honest. And I would suggest never categorizing her father's addiction as a moral failing. Addicts aren't bad people trying to be good; they're sick people trying to get well.

    Welcome to the community and I wish you the best of luck going forward. Remember that we're here to help and support any way we can.

    Peace and hugs.
  3. darkrebelchild

    darkrebelchild Community Champion

    I am sorry @ashley90 that you have to go through such with a little girl. Like @deanokat said, you have to be honest. Break down the truth in the best possible way and you will be surprised at how understanding your girl will be.

    It is amazing how much wisdom little children have most times and your fears will be gone as soon as you have revealed the truth. You are a good parent, never forget that.
    deanokat likes this.
  4. OHelloMe

    OHelloMe Active Contributor

    That sounds like a really difficult situation. My father went to prison when I was 4. He was gone for two years. My mother just told us he had to go away for work-related purposes. When he got home, I was 6 and not all to sure who he was except for the fact that he was my dad. He left again when I was 8 this time actually pursuing business overseas due to his criminal conviction.

    He moved us to Europe over the summer when I was 10. Just before my 11th birthday, we were at the table for breakfast before school and I off-handedly ask him about when he left when I was 4. He goes, "What? Oh no, I was in jail!" and that was that honestly.

    I'm not sure if that helps at all, sometimes keeping things simple is easiest.
  5. Fyrion

    Fyrion Active Contributor

    I could explain drug addiction to a child the same way illness is explained. You can tell your child hat her father commited a mistake and fell into a "trap" and now He is struggling to get well for the sake of both of you and she have to let him be right now so He can make it up for the lost time in the future.