I was at a book signing with Blue Dragon author Amy Voltaire where she was signing her book, My Name is Erin, and My Mom’s an Addict. A parent stopped by the booth and made a face upon seeing the title. “Do you really think you need to bring that subject into the schools?” she said. YES! I was so irritated by the question, I had to jump in. This topic is already in the schools, it’s just hidden. Too many kids are affected by addicted mothers, fathers, siblings, aunts, and uncles. Too many kids are being raised by grandparents because the parents are unfit. No one wants to talk about it, and the kids feel alone.
Amy has started a movement on Instagram (#MyNameIsErin) and people are stepping forward. Others are showing their support. Kids need to know they aren’t without help, and that their parent’s (aunt, uncle, etc) addiction does not have to define who they are. Amy does a great job on a sensitive topic. The book is light-hearted, describing the normal teenage pressures of friends, new school, and first boyfriend. But, Erin feels anything but normal because she lives with her grandparents, who she feels are too old to understand her. Then the return of her mother. The choice is Erin’s. Does she let her mom back into her life or not?
Don’t be afraid to have these discussions with your teenager. You may not think the lesson applies because your child is not dealing with an addicted relative, but they probably know someone who is. Don’t be so quick to dismiss the tough topics. Start the conversation. Any conversation.