Parenting an 11 year old as a sober mom
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Yesterday I received a call from the principal regarding my son's behavior at school. It was an eye opening conversation, and I ended the day exhausted and frustrated. I feel like I am doing so much to be there for my kids these days, but sometimes it feels like everything I am doing is just not enough.
Brayden is eleven years old, in fifth grade and learning to push the boundaries more so than ever. He has always been our more challenging child, as he is smart, intuitive and somewhat fearless. When it comes to getting into trouble lately, he seems unfazed though by the consequences imposed on him, which leaves me with my head spinning.
I know I should go easy on him, and I should cut myself some slack as well. I have people throwing advice at me from every direction, but I know deep down that parenting this kid is harder than most things I have ever done in my life. He makes me question each decision I make, and he makes me wonder if I am doing anything right at all.
Last year when I stopped drinking, I was able to see that he was hurting. He was struggling in school for a while and I had been ignoring his cries. Once I stopped numbing myself with alcohol, I was able to see that he was barely keeping his head above water as well. After being diagnosed with ADHD shortly after as well as some other emotional disorders, he has been much better. We have been on similar paths of trying to navigate our emotions and regulate our feelings this past year, and he has been doing really well.
Currently, he is at the age where he wants to impress his friends and fit into the crowd. He is impulsive and unable to control himself at times, and his silly energy often gets him into trouble. He is a natural leader and must learn to use his these leadership qualities for good. We want to help him harness this in a positive way, but there are days when it feels like I will never get through to him.
It's hard to admit it - but I know that he was one of the biggest reasons I poured my wine in the evenings for so many years. He has always had an endless energy and complicated nature, most of which I neglected to understand for so long.
I need to allow myself a little grace and compassion today and everyday when it comes to him, because I am not numbing myself anymore. Everything I do, I do because I love him and his siblings.
Today, I am here. I am present. I am the best mom I can be. I want to help him. And I love him. I am here, even on the hard days. I don't always have the answers, but I do know being sober makes it that much easier to manage. So, I can't blame myself for the mistakes of my past. We would not be where we are today if we had not experienced all the growth and struggles together.
Today, he and I will figure this thing out. Together.
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