What do kids tell their friends when parent is in rehab?

by Ann


What advice should I give my 8-year-old grandson about what to tell his friends when Mommy is in rehab? Friends want to know why she’s not around, where she works, etc.

You Know Your Grandson

by: Ned Wicker

Dear Ann,

You have to determine an age-specific approach to your need. An eight year old isn’t stupid, so if you try to make an end run, they’ll know.

A friend of mine once said that the whole world was in fourth grade, but some are just taller. I think I’d be straight with your grandson, but explain that there are people who need to know, or deserve to know what is going on and others do NOT need to know.

The problem he faces is the stigma attached to drug addiction. His mom is trying to get better, to learn how to manage her disease and rebuild the destruction that it has caused her. Even adults cringe at the idea of someone needing treatment for a substance use disorder.

If she had a stroke and was in a long-term rehabilitation center, that would be acceptable, but she didn’t suffer a stroke and people chatter about things they don’t know and don’t understand.

I would not be inclined to say much of anything to anyone for that very reason. Mom has been ill and is receiving treatment. We’re hoping she comes home soon. You know your grandson. You know what he can understand and what he can’t.

The important thing is for him to love his mother and respect her for trying. At the end of the day, I really don’t care what anyone else says, but I do care of being respectful to mom and keeping the family together.

I can’t tell you the perfect thing to say. However, I have deep respect for those who do the heavy lifting of treatment and recovery and who come out of the other side of the tunnel with a new life and hope. Mom has a disease and she’s fighting to get better.

What to tell a 5yr old when mum goes to rehab?

by: Anonymous

My sister is going into rehab for 3 months. She and her husband are divorcing and while she is in rehab he and their little boy are going to live with his mum. His whole world is about to be turned upside down, although divorce won’t be mentioned for a while. Any thoughts on what she could tell him to help him cope with such a big change? He will be visiting her once a week.

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