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Providing non-judgmental and non-criticizing support for family and friends of end-stage alcoholics through one-on-one coaching, support groups, blog posts, workshops and public speaking.

Saturday, May 20, 2017


Sometimes I make a decision and this little voice gets into my head and whispers “Rethink your decision” or “Great idea”. It’s disturbing, really. I may be totally confident in my decision but once the little voice steps in, I begin to doubt my reasoning process. I think and rethink, process and reprocess, decide and undecide.

It’s not just the big decisions, it could be something as simple as what flavor ice cream to buy. You should see me buying bed sheets off the internet. OH Boy! What a conundrum!

Finally, I’ve reached a point where I am starting to trust myself to make the right decision for the circumstance. I will listen to that little voice and I’ll check myself, but I won’t dwell on it as I have in the past. I’m so proud of myself – it only took me an hour to decide on which pair of sandals I wanted. Believe me, that’s progress!

But there’s a deeper trust issue that inspired me to write this post. That’s the issue of trusting our kids to make the right decision. When kids are young children, they need assistance in making choices. They lack experience and are unable to see the possible consequences of their decisions. So, I’m not talking about the very young, this post is for the older child – closer to adulthood and beyond.

A parent asked her high school graduating son if he wanted her to encourage the boy’s alcoholic father to attend the celebration. The boy’s response was that he didn’t care if the father was in attendance or not. The mother wasn’t sure if this was the correct decision because this would be a “once in a lifetime” event and the father might regret not being there. The son might regret not having his father there. Should she intervene and remind the father of the ceremony? What if he comes and makes a scene? So many questions making the decision more difficult.

In my opinion, it’s not the mother’s decision to make. The young man already decided that it makes no difference to him if his father is there or not. If he wants his father, it is up to him to remind the father or to ask the mother to remind him. The mother should not step in unless the graduate asks her. The decision is up to the young man.

By the time a child graduates high school, they have already learned valuable life lessons. It is time to put those lessons to use. The child has advanced to being the captain of his own boat. The parents can advise, support and observe, but should not make the final decision. As parents, we may not like or approve. It’s difficult to watch as they take a walk towards a cliff but we, as parents, must let them make their own mistakes and learn from them.

We must trust that we did the best we could to teach our kids right from wrong and to look both ways before crossing the street. We can try to continue to tell them what to do, but believe me when I say, they WILL stop listening.

Don’t worry because as the years pass you will eventually find yourself asking your kids for their advice. As the world changes, technology changes, and/or standards change, we may find it hard to keep up in the ever seeming faster paced world. I know. I can’t figure out my cell phone without my daughter’s help. It’s frustrating.

We must trust that we did as good a job as we possibly could while they grow up with an extra issue of alcoholism in the household or family. We must trust our kids to have learned our life lessons. If we don’t, we are doomed to live in a sea of doubt and worry. That’s not where I want to spend my later years of life. I trust my kids and grandkids. In fact, sometimes I think they are smarter than me. 

1 comment:

Kathryn said...

So I gather from this and your radio silence you decided to let your daughter be Riley's caregiver? I hope so. . .