Co-parenting with an alcoholic can be a challenging situation, especially when it comes to child custody. Substance abuse can pose a danger to children, and it’s important to take steps to protect them. One way to do this is through mediation. Mediation can help parents work together to create a parenting plan that takes into account the needs of the children and the challenges posed by alcoholism. It can also provide a safe space for parents to discuss their concerns and come up with solutions that work for everyone. In some cases, a custody order or negotiated agreement can stipulate alcohol abuse monitoring for one or both parents
Additionally, remote testing devices can provide court-admissible alcohol monitoring reports to either prove or disprove claims of parental alcohol abuse.
Here are some strategies that can help
Follow up immediately on any alcohol use violations
Support the treatment, therapy, and recovery of a co-parent
Utilize technology for improved communication
Talk about addiction with your children and explain it to them in an age-appropriate way
Create new structures and boundaries to help manage the situation
Set boundaries and stick to them
Set a good example by taking care of yourself
Maintain a journal to record when the other parent drinks, how much is consumed, and how the drinking affects the children
Formulate a co-parental agreement that outlines expectations and boundaries
Remember that addiction is a complex issue, so maintain empathy and understanding while safeguarding your child’s best interests.
Often mediators will work with trusted psychologists and counsellors who can help in mediation with such complex issues. It can be helpful when there are children involved.
Explaining alcoholism to children can be challenging, but it’s important to do so in a way that is age-appropriate and easy for them to understand. Here are some tips:
Keep it simple. Use language that is easy for children to understand
Explain that alcoholism is a disease that affects the brain and makes it hard for people to stop drinking
Emphasize that alcoholism is not the child’s fault and that they are not responsible for the behavior of the alcoholic parent
Reassure the child that they are loved and that both parents are working to keep them safe
Encourage the child to ask questions and express their feelings
Be honest about the situation, but avoid sharing too many details that may be overwhelming for the child
Use age-appropriate resources, such as books or videos, to help explain alcoholism
Focus on the positive aspects of the situation, such as the fact that the parent is seeking help and working towards recovery
It’s important to remember that children may have a range of emotions about the situation, including confusion, anger, and sadness. Be patient and understanding.