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Explaining Alcoholism to Children

answered 03:21 PM EST, Thu November 21, 2013
banshee317 banshee317 cinnaminson
Dear Friend,
I am a psychotherapist in South Jersey. Two years ago one of my clients in recovery struggled with how to explain alcoholism to his young daughter. He was concerned that she would hear from neighbors and family members that Daddy was a "drunk". After an unsuccessful search for the perfect children's book to help him and his daughter he asked me to write one. "Daddy's Disease" is the result.
“Tommy doesn’t know why his father doesn’t show up for dinners, or soccer games or why he acts funny sometimes. Tommy thinks it’s because his father doesn’t want to be with him, that he hasn’t been the best boy he can be, that he should try harder. But, Mommy tells Tommy that Daddy has a disease called “alcoholism”. She helps Tommy, and his faithful dog Murphy, understand what this disease is and how it affects Daddy, and the whole family. She teaches Tommy that he is not responsible for Daddy’s behavior and that gives Tommy the peace he needs to foster a healthy childhood.”

In an easily understood, beautifully illustrated style, "Daddy's Disease" helps families to navigate the difficult waters of alcoholism.

It is my hope that you will consider making this information available for the many children and adults who have been struggling with this devastating disease.

Please feel free to contact me at 856-296-3775 with any questions. I thank you for your time and consideration and for all the good work you do.


Carolyn Hannan Bell - www.alcoholismhurtskids.com

Rev. Christopher Smith Says...

Rev. Christopher Smith C. Smith


Alcoholism is a serious disease that can do a lot of damage within a family.

Having not seen the particular book (which I would be willing to do), I cannot comment on whether the book provides a good message in a way that children would understand. This is certainly a challenge that surrounds addictions and serious mental illnesses alike. Having a resource that explains things without feeding into the stigma that society often surrounds these with is important. This is especially important because of the greater risk that children of people with these conditions have of also getting these conditions. There are appropriate preventative steps that can help to have a greater chance of breaking the cycle and lessening stigma around them will mean one less barrier to be faced to getting treatment if they need it. What has not been described in this description is an understanding of the damage that enabling behavior and codependency can also take. This is something that I would want to carefully review before encouraging people to use this book.

I would also suggest that if the book is good at addressing these matters, that rather than approaching experts about the book that you might want to approach those who run Choose Help to see how they might be involved in your marketing of the book.

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Page last updated Nov 21, 2013

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