There’s a big difference between helping your child and enabling their behaviors. When I discovered my son had an alcohol addiction, I was a single parent of two teenaged children.
The first time I saw my son Brian drunk, he was 14 years old.
We had just moved from Missouri to New York State after my second divorce. I felt ill-equipped to deal with the painful reality that my son was repeating the cycle of his father, whom I had left due to his alcohol addiction.
When I ask myself how I became an enabler to his addiction, I reflect on my background. I grew up the oldest child in a family of four children. As the eldest, I was called on to be the caretaker of my younger siblings. The caretaking role felt comfortable and validating. When I left home at 18, I chose to pursue a career in nursing, further reinforcing my role as a caretaker.Read...
When I was four months pregnant, I told my two daughters — then ages nine and six — that they were going to have a new sibling. I asked if they wanted to know the baby's gender. My older daughter shouted, "It must be a little brother because I already have the best sister in the world!"
While years later she would deny the latter part of the proclamation (loudly and with many door slams), she was correct in her prediction. Our family was getting a baby boy.
What we didn't know is that this little bundle of joy was going to rule the land.
Although the girls in our home outnumbered the boys, we surrendered our power to him the minute he was born without hesitation.Read...