As you embark on your new journey of a life of sobriety rekindling relationships with friends, family members, and co-workers can prove to be quite difficult. Unfortunately, the most challenging relationship to rekindle is your relationship with your children.
While you were suffering from your addiction there is a good chance that you damaged this relationship. Drugs and alcohol cause you to act selfishly and unlike yourself which leads to you hurting those closest to you.
Your relationship with your child is a completely unique one, more than anyone else in the world your child looks to you for love and guidance. Despite the fact that your addiction caused you to act in ways that you regret, it is possible to repair your relationship with your child so that you can help them grow and evolve through life.
Repairing this relationship is vital both for your child, for you, and for your entire family. Despite its importance, this process can be intimidating and slow, but it will be fulfilling.
To help you combat the fear and apprehension involved with this process we have put together the following ideas that will help guide you on your unique journey to rekindling your relationship with your child.
It is important to forgive yourself for the damaging actions of your past because it was not you acting that way, it was your addiction. Now that you have gotten help with your addiction you need to understand that your actions are in the past and that you are fully capable of repairing your relationship with your child.
Thinking about your actions and learning how they have affected your child, then forgiving yourself for those actions, is the only way that you can move forwards and repair your damaged relationship.
Make A Plan
There are a lot of variables when it comes to addiction and how it affected you. It gets even more complicated when you consider explaining it to your child. To properly navigate how you are going to talk to your child it can help to make a plan with your spouse and a professional.
Considering things like your child’s age, previous knowledge of your disease, and current relationship situation are all important to consider when explaining to your child why you acted the way you did.
Approaching the rekindling of your relationship with a distinct plan will help avoid confusion, which will give your child the best chance of grasping what you have gone through.
Comfort Your Child
Often when situations get difficult between parents and children the children can end up blaming themselves for what has happened. They lack the understanding and life experience needed to properly understand why their relationship with you has deteriorated. To cope with it they often explain it in their own head by blaming themselves.
Working to explain to them that it wasn’t their fault and instead was a disease that caused the issue is vital when mending the relationship. Unfortunately explaining this in a way that the child can grasp can be a difficult and long journey.
While on this journey of learning and understanding make sure to stick to your plan and treat your child with compassion and respect. Whatever level of understanding you try to impart to them, remember to be patient and encouraging no matter what emotions they show or how they react.
Your patience with, and understanding of, your child’s emotions will go a long way in showing that you are treating them differently now. It will also help make it clear that you and your disease were what caused the problems in the relationship, not them.
As you present more and more information and start to mend your relationship, you need to make sure to remain open and available to your child. Everyone processes knowledge and emotions at different speeds, staying approachable at all times will allow your child to come to you when they have a follow-up question or additional thought.
This availability will slowly show your child that this new version of you is here to help them. This will reiterate to your child that you are committed to your relationship with them and are looking out for them. Over time this will mend old wounds and promote a climate of love and support.
Continue To Work On Yourself
Relationships are a two-way street, so while working hard to explain to your child what has happened it is still important to work on yourself. Continue to spend time with your support groups, therapist, and make sure you stay clean.
Actions speak louder than words, especially with young impressionable minds, so practicing what you preach will go a long way in showing your child that you have committed to changing your ways. This blatant show of change will help your child forgive you, eliminate their feelings of guilt, and encourage them to build your relationship to new levels.
Continuing to Reconnect With Your Children
As you forgive yourself, make a plan, and openly communicate with your child you should see your relationship with your child or children start to repair itself. Your children will make it clear when they begin to forgive you for the pain you caused and can trust you again.
When this happens your work is not done. Now that things are in a good place it is important to make up for lost time by taking your relationship to new heights. Make sure to set aside time to do things your kids are interested in. What seems like small gestures can end up greatly affecting your child, helping them grow as human beings and blossom into contributing people in society.
Your job as a parent is never done, so remember to prioritize your children even after your relationship is good, while still taking care of yourself so that you and your family can live a happy and full life moving forward.