When a parent is using drugs or alcohol

Alan Yellin, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on how to best explain their spouse's drug or alcohol use to their children to help them feel safe and loved
Parenting Tips | Explaining A Parent's Drug Or Alcohol Use To Kids
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When a parent is using drugs or alcohol

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There are instances where because one parent is using drugs or alcohol, the child is not safe being with that other parent. There are some ways to try and explain that to a child. Number one, you can sit down with the child and say, "You know, I know that mommy loves you very much or daddy loves you very much, but right now they have a grownup kind of problem." You can even say words like, "They have a problem with alcohol," or "They have a problem with drugs. For that reason, they are not able to be with you right now. They can't be an everyday kind of mom or they can't be an everyday kind of dad." We can write to the parent. We can talk to them on the phone. In many instances, there's something called "monitored visitation," where the child can be with that parent, if the parent has proven to be sober, and if there is a third party supervising to make sure the child is safe during this time. The whole time, we want the child to know that we are doing this to keep that child safe. That's important.

Alan Yellin, PhD Psychologist, shares advice for parents on how to best explain their spouse's drug or alcohol use to their children to help them feel safe and loved

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Alan Yellin, PhD

Psychologist

Dr. Alan Yellin is a licensed psychologist as well as licensed marriage and family therapist.  He has been in practice for over 30 years working with children, adolescents and adults. Dr. Yellin did his post-doctoral fellowship at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles. In his practice, he sees children with learning problems, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, fears and social skills issues. Additionally, he has a sub-specialty in working with children from divorced families as well as helping parents deal more effectively with their divorce. Dr. Yellin’s practice also includes working with adolescents and adults with depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive issues as well as issues around life passages. Dr. Yellin believes that therapy works best when the client and therapist have a collaborative relationship as they explore thoughts and feelings and work towards solutions, and uses a combination of scientific data along with humor to help people achieve change. He is in a long-term happy marriage and has two grown children.

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