Helping Children Understand Addiction
Helping children develop an understanding of addiction can give them a powerful head start in life. As a society, we have had to accept that addiction affects many families. Nearly 23 million Americans – almost 1 in 10 – are addicted to alcohol or other drugs. Many children grow up with parents that have abused alcohol or drugs, and this can have a very lasting negative impact. This can contribute to some children experimenting with substances themselves later in life. The trauma that can come out of a dysfunctional household affected by substance abuse is very real and a serious problem in many families across the country.
Gwen Tatera, the veteran teacher and author of Piggy Pie’s Pickle Problem, observed a young student with bags under his eyes who had large calluses on his fingers from holding a game remote control. When questioned, he admitted to staying up until midnight to play these games.
“It made me realize that there are problems with addiction for children,” Tatera shares. This experience as an elementary school teacher moved her to write this children’s story. She believes that children as young as five years old suffer from addictions. The pig in this story has been driven to distraction with his pickle eating and knows he has a problem. He learns that creating balance in life is a good thing. This book can be a catalyst for parent-child discussions about understanding addictions. Parents can share their own experiences, at an age-appropriate level, if this is something that affects their family. Mom or Dad may not develop “pickle bumps” like the pig in the story, but it’s a sensitive approach to illustrating an addiction problem.
Both parents and children can benefit from sharing this story. It’s terrific that the author points out that a change of behavior is necessary; something every good recovery program suggests. Moreover, just like recovering adults, kids need to develop healthy outside interests to substitute for the missed addictive activity. At Restore Health and Wellness Center, we’ve helped hundreds of addicted parents become clean and sober. This allows parents to re-enter their child’s life as a positive role model and it begins the process of rebuilding this special relationship and bond. If you or a loved one are affected by addiction or alcoholism, don’t hesitate to contact us for a confidential assessment around the clock.