Ask Elizabeth

Dear Elizabeth,

I am having a tiny issue with my kids, (I have two boys and a girl). They are all in their teens and have a serious behavioral problem. I am a single Mom and have been most of their lives.

The problem is, when I ask them to do something, they ignore me or argue. They have been getting in trouble lately in school. All three have wrecked my vehicle at least once.

I never spanked them as small children because I don’t believe in it. I always wanted to be the cool mom that my kids could be proud of and have friends over, so I tend to let them get away with more than other parents. I just don’t want to be so strict that my kids end up hating me, but now they are taking advantage of my kindness and seem to go over the top.

What can I do?

Mom of Chaos

Dear Mom of Chaos,

First of all, you’re a parent. Parents aren’t meant to be friends. Save that for kids their own age.

They are taking advantage of you because they know that they can get away with it. Stop allowing it. If your kids don’t like you, that’s OK; they’ll get over it. It is not your job to make them like you, it is your job to raise them right. Their ability to function as responsible, civilized adults is on you.

Strict parents don’t necessarily have kids who hate them, they have kids who know the difference between right and wrong, who can be respectful and responsible. There is a huge difference between being strict and being abusive. Abuse is never OK, but neither is allowing your children to walk all over you.

Learn how to say “No” and stick with it. Hand out punishments that teach a lesson, and follow through. Idle threats will never get you anywhere. You can be their friend when they’re 30; right now, you’re their mom.

Dear Elizabeth,

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I believe that my husband is an alcoholic. He drinks all the time, sometimes to the point of blacking out, and he doesn’t remember a lot of things that he says or does when he’s been drinking.

He can be very hateful and mean, but when he is sober, he is the man that I love. I have talked to him about all of this, but he says he doesn’t have a problem.

I don’t drink, so I see all of this with a clear head. I don’t know what to do anymore. I love my husband very much, but I don’t know how much more of this I can take.

We’ve talked about having a baby, but how can I bring a child into a household when things can be unpredictable and sometimes very strained? Please help.

The Sober One

Dear Sober One,

Alcoholism is very much a disease just like drug addiction. The problem is, until your husband can admit that he has a problem, there really isn’t much you can do.

Alcoholics have a way of making you believe whatever they say, and they will tell you whatever you want to hear just so they can have another drink. Ultimately, the choice is yours on what you want to do, I can’t give you any definitive decision.

I can say, that even if he doesn’t want to get help, or admit there is a problem, you can still find help for yourself. Find a local Al-Anon meeting, which are meetings for loved ones of addicts, and talk to someone. They can guide you and help you through this.

I truly believe that sometimes it is harder to love an addict, than it is to be the addict. The helplessness you can feel over watching someone you love spiral into alcoholism can be overwhelming.

I promise, there is help for you, from other family members of addicts, or even just personal counseling. They are more equipped than I am to help and assess this situation. I do wish you good luck.

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