“My wife is going to rehab. What am I supposed to tell my kids?”

Hello, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live on Facebook to answer your parenting questions every Wednesday at noon on
your lunch break. We're also in our new location. We're still moving in, still kinda trying
to hang pictures and stuff here and there, but we're finally in our new location. Very excited
about that. So you can see the background is a little different now. Anyways, let's jump into
this week's question. My wife is going into rehab next month for drinking. What am I supposed
to tell my kids? They are 15 and 6 years old. This is a big question. It's a very confusing question
for a lot of parents. Whether you're the parent going into rehab or you're the parent who's not
going to rehab. You're gonna be there to take care of the kids while the other parent goes. It's
very delicate, very sensitive. There's a lot of feelings involved. Addiction affects everyone
and not just the person struggling with that

addiction but also The spouses the kids especially the kids because they're really out of control
and sometimes they have a hard time understanding the first thing I would do is recognize Where
their emotional levels are at the 15 year old probably can talk about things much more directly
than the six -year -old can So let's talk about the six -year -old first And again, you may talk
about this separately with your kids or together depending on your kids maturity level So the
six -year -old First, I would ask, hey, have you noticed things different about mommy lately?
I don't know what your wife's symptoms are, it could be varied, but let's say for example that
she's sleeping a lot, your six -year -old comes in, finds her passed out on the couch, or she's
really grumpy, or whatever those symptoms are, if she can talk about things, or he, whether
the six -year -old is a boy or a girl, if your six -year -old can talk about some of those symptoms
you can say yeah well his mommy's sick and

but she's going to a place where she can feel better with doctors and they're gonna help her take
care of her help her feel stronger and you can label the the sickness I think the sickness is called
addiction and it is a disease but it can be treated and can be helped. Your six -year -old may ask
more about what is addiction you can if I assume your six -year -old has probably seen mom drinking
if she hasn't or he hasn't you can kind of tailor make it's like well it's about You can talk about
how it's this attachment or this connection to drinking alcohol and makes someone feel not
well and the more someone drinks, the more they feel they have to drink and that's why we want
to eat healthy, drink healthy, take care of our bodies. It can totally turn into a really healthy
talk about health hygiene but let your sexual know that depending on the ability to contact,
because different facilities have different rules on contact, let them know what the rules
are for communication. Let your kids

know that it's up to them whether they want to communicate with mom or not. Some kids may not want
to communicate with mom because it's too scary or too frightening or there's too much resentment
and they may need to wait until mom is at a more stable place to start repairing and that is totally
normal. The 15 year old, you can probably, excuse me, probably be much more direct. You can just
lay out the facts, this is what's going on. I assume the 15 -year -old knows. Usually by the time
someone's going to rehab, it's because that person is not hiding their addiction anymore and
it's come to a climax that things are really falling apart. So it's not gonna be a surprise to
the 15 -year -old. Now there's gonna be some big emotions for both the 15 -year -old and the 16
-year -old and for the spouse, the husband who's staying at home who's gonna try to pick up the
pieces. It's important to talk about the routines. You know who's gonna be there for pickups
and drop -offs who's gonna take soccer

practice who's gonna make dinner These things will probably change without one parent out
of the house for a month three months six months depending on how long that rehab Takes it's important
to have some kind of plans It's also important to allow your kids to talk about their feelings
and their emotions and talk more There's anger or sadness. Don't try to explain them away. Don't
try to take those feelings away Don't try to make them feel differently let them feel the way
they feel because that will help them get through the feeling. There's a lot of support out there
whether it's getting your kids into therapy, whether it's getting your teenager into Alateen,
getting yourself into Al -Anon. There's a lot of communities to help. Also many rehab centers
will have community outreach within their own facility for families to get their support they
need. And also once you reintegrate that parent back in the house, there's going to be some,
it's going to take some help and you may need have

a therapist or rehab specialist help with that. That's going to be a big thing. This is not an
easy topic. It's a big issue. Everyone's going to go through it in a different way. That's why
it's really important to make sure you're leaning on professionals to help support you with
this. Anyways, that is our question for today. Thank you for writing in. Please keep the questions
coming. You You can email us at tipsonteams at teentherapycenter .com and I'll answer your
questions every Wednesday at noon. Thanks a lot. See you next Wednesday. Bye bye.

Addiction is always tough no matter the circumstances. It gets even more difficult when children are involved. How would you tell your children if your significant other had trouble with drinking or addiction? What would you do? This week’s

#TipsOnTeensquestion comes from a father wondering how to talk to his kids about this. Here’s the question:

“My wife is going to rehab next month for drinking. What am I supposed to tell my kids? They are 15 and 6 years old.”

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.