By Jodie Lynn
My daughter is the single parent of a 6-year-old girl. The girl's father is an alcoholic and never keeps his promises of picking her up. The girl makes up stories about how he will one day come and get her and they will have loads of fun together. She also asks why her mom and dad don't live together like other families. How do we handle this?
There are groups called Al-Anon Family Groups you and your daughter can join that will offer support and literature about family members who drink. There are other people who are going through similar situations. These meetings will help to teach you a better way of explaining to your granddaughter what alcoholism is all about and how to handle the disappointments. There is a group in every city and by calling AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) you can find one close to you. They really do help as they have helped my own family and plenty of my friends. - D. T. in CA
From Jodie: Make sure you do the right thing by not degrading him in her presence. She obviously loves him greatly and holds dear the time they have spent together. At the moment, she is only trying to fit into the family circle and projected group she sees and hears about from friends, school and even stories in books. For now here are some tips that might make life easier:
#1. Keep answers to questions simple.
#2. Always keep her emotional and physical well being in mind. Should he ever get drunk in front of her or try to drive drunk - he will have to give up visiting rights or have supervised visits only. Make sure you are clear about this with him.
#3. As the parent above suggested, it would be a good idea for you and your daughter to go to Al-Anon meetings. Your daughter may get better results if she does not go to the same meeting (group) as you do. When your granddaughter gets old enough, there are also Al-Anon Teen Programs available.
#4. Support your daughter but do not do everything for her - it is a learning process for everyone involved and she needs to become independent and strong for your granddaughter.
#5. There are lots of books out on the market today about single moms and dads, alcoholism and divorce. Read those that are written for children to your granddaughter and buy an adult version for yourself.
#6. Buy my book, Mommy-CEO, revised edition, (Martin-Ola Press, $12.95). It is now available from any bookstore, either on-shelf or through ordering, and from Amazon.com or my website, ParentToParent.com. Many single parents have contributed to it and will help in everyday life as well as family issues. It is written in the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) format and was a huge success in a pilot program from the state of Indiana in which single welfare moms used it in parenting classes.
Can you help?
I am a 13-year-old girl who lives with her natural father and step mom. My real mom comes to pick me up every other week. It is my step mom who does most of the daily stuff with my three brothers and me. I want to buy her a nice gift for Christmas but I do not want to make my real mom upset. What should I do and what should I buy?
My daughter and her 11-year-old friends have begun to wear the gel bracelets. I have only recently heard about what they mean when snapped or pulled off by a boy at school. How would I tell if she is lying about knowing what they represent (hidden sexual agendas). Why are the principals allowing the girls to wear them?
Please share your tips and help other parents. Send them - or other parenting questions - to: Parent to Parent, 2464 Taylor Rd., Suite 131, Wildwood, MO 63040. Send e-mail through the www.ParentToParent.com website.
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