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#1 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 02:01 AM - Thread Starter
 
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This weekend we had our "God" son, 4yo. He is very behind on speech; most of the time it's difficult to have any Q & A time with him - he shrugs off being questioned because he knows people can't understand him.

BUT... today the conversation went like this...

him: Where is [DP]?
me: Outside... smoking
him: yuck.
me: I know... you should tell [DP] that smoking is yucky. that you don't like it.
him: it bad. it make you sick
me: I know
me: does your mommy smoke?
him: no
him: my daddy drinks

UM..... pause

me: what does your daddy drink?
him: alkahow
me: does he drink a lot?
him: he gets mad when he drinks

and then he walked away.

He's 4. I mean, his dad could have a drink every now and again. I'm not terribly worried. We are not saints ourselves! But I find it interesting that he said it - which, just on the outset, seems like it's maybe more than a drink a week. Something he's comfortable with TELLING people!!!! And that "he gets mad when he drinks"... again, I have no idea what that means.

But it was... interesting.
I considered mentioning to his mom when she picked him up, but decided to wait. It wasn't a big deal, just.... interesting.

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#2 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 02:17 AM
 
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I don't belong in this forum and caught this from the highlighted threads, but I'm not exactly sure I would shrug this off. I'm not saying call CPS or anything, I'm just saying that this kid brought this up without being asked. And noted the anger. These are red flags for a problem.

Do you know the parents well enough to bring this up? Or will you have your godson again anytime soon (like in the next week or so) to ask what happens when his dad drinks and gets mad? Maybe this family is going through a temporary rough time where you might be able to help with the 4yo until they get through it, but maybe it's more.

I have a hard time with situations like this because on one hand, I feel like: let people live their lives... live and let live... people take things too far when they don't know the details. But there's another part of me that feels that we've gone so far into "respecting other people's privacy" that we've crossed over into not being the village it takes to care for one another in ways that could make a huge difference in the quality of our lives and relationships. Tough call. But in this case, I would at least dig a little more.

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#3 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 02:24 AM
 
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Ooof. That is... interesting.

I would feel pretty uncomfortable having heard that. Especially from a not-particularly-communicative child. My gut reaction is bad, and that bad things happen when daddy drinks in their house. Moreover, that daddy drinks frequently as well. That's just my gut - which, believe me, has been wrong.

How close are you with the parents? Do you know them well enough to bring it up? I think it's worth chatting with mom about. I probably wouldn't not chat with dad about it ... that's just me. Sticky situation.

I'm totally with you on the "we're no saints ourselves" and not wanting to judge. However, DH and I drink enough beer (him) and wine (me) for DS to know that we drink those things and refer to them by name when we drink them or it's just a time where we might. For example, DS wants a special juice treat, he might suggest that mama have some wine too, since it's a special drink and he's working it, you know.

My son would likely tell family or friends who cared for him that mama and daddy drink, and what they drink, if asked. He would not, however, tell them that daddy, specifically, get's mad when he drinks, because that doesn't happen.

ETA: especially considering that the information about daddy being angry when he drinks was, essentially, unsolicited. You asked how much daddy drinks, and his response was that daddy gets angry. That's a cognitive association he has, pretty strongly. Again, just IMO.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is ... it's a red flag in my book. I'm guessing that it's a red flag in your book too, or else you wouldn't have posted a new thread about it?

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#4 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 03:07 AM - Thread Starter
 
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ETA: especially considering that the information about daddy being angry when he drinks was, essentially, unsolicited. You asked how much daddy drinks, and his response was that daddy gets angry. That's a cognitive association he has, pretty strongly. Again, just IMO.

I suppose what I'm trying to say is ... it's a red flag in my book. I'm guessing that it's a red flag in your book too, or else you wouldn't have posted a new thread about it?
Exactly. Yes. Yes and Yes.

His response was not an answer to my question, but an elaboration, on his own (which is just unheard of... he really doesn't talk much At All). This was really the only 'conversation' we had all weekend... and it meant something (at least to me).

As far as closeness... his mom has mentioned things in the past with her husband drinking. We haven't heard anything in a LONG time, I figured that was fixed or figured out or something. And honestly, that's why I was prying about his mom smoking, because she used to be, and I was curious.

His mom is DP's ex (way long ago), so things are a little sticky there. I told DP what he said and he definitely raised an eyebrow, but wasn't too worried. Again, it's been a long time since his mom has said anything.

Might be a good time to ask, though. How do you do that, totally casually?

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#5 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 10:10 AM
 
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I understand the concern, but keep in mind that you have only glimpsed a little, tiny corner of whatever the truth is.

Even if the man has a glass of wine with dinner every night - not just once a week! - that doesn't necessarily indicate a "problem".

The kid could know the word "alcohol", not because it's such an all-encompassing part of his family life, but simply because someone told him once that the reason he can't have a sip of daddy's drink is because alchohol isn't good for kids.

His parents could have had an isolated argument in which Mom said something off the cuff, like, "I didn't think you'd get so upset about this. Maybe you're just mad because you were drinking!" In the kid's mind, that could have turned into, "Oh! Alcohol makes people mad!" Or, maybe it wasn't that big a deal - even to the kid - but because he repeated it (and doesn't have the verbal skills to explain the context), you naturally wonder if Dad drinking and getting mad is a major pattern, in their family.

I wouldn't butt in, unless you notice other things that point to the same concern. Ask yourself what is the projected long-term result of you pushing for more information?
* If there's abuse that would warrant third-party intervention or removing the child from the home, then it's likely there would be some other signs, or additional concerns expressed.
* If your concern is more that the dad's drinking is creating stress in the marriage and the mom might need support...she's more likely to turn to you guys on her own (like she evidently did before). She's more likely to feel put off, or that it's unsafe to confide in you, if you approach her with something embarassing her child has said - especially when you're not sure what it meant.

After all, the child did not say, "Daddy hits Mommy when he drinks and she cries." Then, your response would be more obvious. But if there are just some minor levels of stress or conflict between the parents - and it doesn't rise to the level of abuse - it's not necessary that you guys satisfy your curiosity about it. I mean, this is your God son, right, not your partner's kid? So presumably an ex-BF and his current partner are not the only people in this woman's support network.

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#6 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 10:23 AM
 
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I don't think I'd explain it away like that, but I wouldn't go asking the 4 year old for more info. If this couple chose you as Godmother they must have been close with you at some point, right? I'd bring it up with the mom. Maybe start it off with a more fun conversation about how you, your DH, or people you know get silly and said/did whatever when overindulging. Then talk about what it looked like in people with a problem who you've known (if applicable), do you know anyone in recovery you could talk about (keeping the person anonymous)? Maybe she'd confide and reach out, if she wanted to.
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#7 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 10:53 AM
 
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His mom is DP's ex (way long ago), so things are a little sticky there. I told DP what he said and he definitely raised an eyebrow, but wasn't too worried. Again, it's been a long time since his mom has said anything.

Might be a good time to ask, though. How do you do that, totally casually?
I would say, "Kidsmom, I remember you telling me that your DH used to drink. I just want to let you know that DC has mentioned to me that he knows that his dad drinks. He told me that his dad gets mad when he has been drinking."

This gives her the chance to discuss it with her DH and the chance to change things if there is a problem, and it gives her the chance to tell you one way or another without her feeling like you a judging her. Our godchild is also an ex od DH's, so I know that can be a strange dynamic. It seems like the most important thing in bringing it up is for her to feel like you are there for her, but not judging her.

Also, I think saying "my dad drinks" is a pretty bold statement for a 4 yo with speech problems. It seems like maybe he has heard that said out loud by another adult. Maybe his mom and dad arguing about it, or a different adult noticing and talking about it?

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#8 of 13 Old 10-18-2010, 10:14 PM
 
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I understand the concern, but keep in mind that you have only glimpsed a little, tiny corner of whatever the truth is.

Even if the man has a glass of wine with dinner every night - not just once a week! - that doesn't necessarily indicate a "problem".

The kid could know the word "alcohol", not because it's such an all-encompassing part of his family life, but simply because someone told him once that the reason he can't have a sip of daddy's drink is because alchohol isn't good for kids.

His parents could have had an isolated argument in which Mom said something off the cuff, like, "I didn't think you'd get so upset about this. Maybe you're just mad because you were drinking!" In the kid's mind, that could have turned into, "Oh! Alcohol makes people mad!" Or, maybe it wasn't that big a deal - even to the kid - but because he repeated it (and doesn't have the verbal skills to explain the context), you naturally wonder if Dad drinking and getting mad is a major pattern, in their family...

I just want to build on this and add to what I previously stated, about thinking it's a red flag.

For me, this is us. We do have a beer/wine most days of the week, so we are frequent drinkers, but not frequent fighters. And after I read the above, especially about it possibly being in reference to a potentially isolated incident and not a big deal, it made me think about how I would feel if someone mentioned my son said that at their house. Because what if it did happen?

And I decided... I'd want to know about it. I'd want it brought up casually. Either it would be a funny story, like, OH! I know why he said that, because xyz happened the other day or he heard it on the radio or whatever, and othermom and I had a good laugh. Or, it would remind me that I had been snappy about something with DH and wrongly blamed it on beer drinking because I was angry or whatever. And that would remind me of how I want our home life to be for our son.

I thought at first that I would be offended if someone said something to me, but now I think, really, I'd want to know. Plus, you can gauge a reaction and open the door. I always end up voting for more talking rather than less, though. Some people don't agree that's best. And your situation is slightly more complex, so this is just my 2c.

K: high school teacher and mama to DS1 (7/07), loss (10/10) and DS2 (7/12). Married to my best friend and soon to be elementary school teacher!
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#9 of 13 Old 10-19-2010, 05:41 PM
 
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I'd casually ask but it could be quite innocent too.

He could drink while watching sports games & yells at the tv.
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#10 of 13 Old 10-19-2010, 05:49 PM
 
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I would say, "Kidsmom, I remember you telling me that your DH used to drink. I just want to let you know that DC has mentioned to me that he knows that his dad drinks. He told me that his dad gets mad when he has been drinking."
This is probably what I'd do. The comments alone don't really raise red flags for me. (Maybe that's partly because I clearly remember ds1, at about age 2-3, answering the phone with a slurred voice, and saying, "Whaddya want...and make it snappy, 'cause I'm drunk". To this day - he's 17.5 - I have no idea where he got that - he'd never seen me or his dad drunk, and I don't think he'd ever even seen a drunk person on tv. Total mystery.) But, I would want to know if my kids told someone that daddy drinks and gets mad. (It would be true, too - dh does drink beer, and he sometimes gets mad - raises his voice and/or is short-tempered. Those things sometimes overlap, and sometimes don't.)

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#11 of 13 Old 10-19-2010, 05:51 PM
 
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I'd casually ask but it could be quite innocent too.

He could drink while watching sports games & yells at the tv.
I have to agree with this!! Especially since it is just the start of football season.

At that age my HOH speech delayed child convinced her speech therapist I had twins at home.

My son like to tell people we put trash in the tub we put the trash can in the tub to keep toddlers out of it.

I was told by a 4 year old my mom has a vagina and my dad has a penis. Completely out of the blue. The hole situation left me laughing and going, HUH?
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#12 of 13 Old 10-20-2010, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I really appreciate your responses. That his mom has mentioned in the past, should make it easier to casually ask... even if it's just "how are you and your husband doing these days"... something easy during a pick up.
I'll try to do that.

I don't see a HUGE red flag. As I've said, and PPs, we are not saints either. We drink in front of him, but normally in a gathering setting, if we're having a bbq or something. We're not just "having drinks" while watching tv. something about the way he said it, seems like his dad might be more than just having a drink while watching football. But seriously... I'm not trying to judge. Just... interested.

Thank you so much - both for those who see red flags and those that don't. It's helping me. I'll ask his mom a generic question, see if SHE brings up a drinking aspect and go from there. I don't think she needs to know that her son said something (although, I'd probably maybe want to know that... cause maybe you'd LIE, as an adult, but if your son is mentioning that his parents drink... the LIE doesn't work so well). Hmmm.. that's a tough one. I'll ponder on mentioning that he said something.

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#13 of 13 Old 10-24-2010, 04:00 AM
 
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Forum crashing.....

If it were me, I'd want to know. My (then) 4yo DS told me that he was so hungry and that we never had any food in the house and that he was starving. He meant that we didn't have junk food and he didn't want some fruit or something. Thankfully he said it to me because that comment could be entirely misunderstood by someone else. I would be mortified if he had said something like that to someone else and they were wondering whether it meant that I don't have enough food in the house.

So anyway, it may be totally innocent and if I were in that situation I would want to know.

It's complicated.
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