Being sober allows you to be a better parent by being present, have more energy, keep your children safe, set a good example, and building healthy, loving relationships with your children. The most obvious reason being sober will make you a better parent is allowing you to be loving and present with your children in all the precious moments of their lives you would otherwise miss if inebriated.
It’s no secret that being sober has many benefits over living with an addiction. But how does it make you a better parent? Let’s find out.
In the article below, we discuss interesting reasons why parenting sober makes you a better parent.
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1. Being Present
Most importantly, being a sober parent, you can be fully present for your family. Your children don’t have to suffer through your impatience or drunkenness. You are no longer irritable because of a hangover.
When you are sober, you can be present in your children’s lives and enjoy all the special moments you would otherwise miss while intoxicated. Being a sober parent, you are entirely focused on your child’s needs and will spend the necessary time with your needy child. Alcohol makes a person self-absorbed and unaware of his surroundings.
When a parent lives with an addiction, the obsessive condition takes precedence over any other aspect of their lives, irrespective of importance. Unfortunately, it is often children who get the short end of the stick with intoxicated parents.
Things like birthday parties, Christmas mornings, family BBQs or ball games, or just simple time spent together with their parents will be absent from their childhood memories. Being a sober present parent allows you to engage in your child’s everyday activities, and memorable quality time spent with your child will become a treasured childhood memory.
2. Be a Healthy Role Model for Your Children
Being a sober parent allows you to be a good healthy role model for your children. Even if you take the best care of yourself to stay healthy, if you are drinking, being healthy and being a good role model would not be your priority. Children with parents who have a drinking problem are at risk for alcohol and drug use and psychological problems later in life. Setting a good example for your children through their formative years is a crucial role a sober parent play.
During active addiction, you are not someone that should be around your children. Being a sober parent, you become a better parent by making good decisions for your family. You are the best version of yourself when sober while setting a good example for your children.
It is well known that drinking alcohol is unhealthy. In time you can experience severe health consequences from drinking. Being a sober parent, you will have numerous benefits to your health and well-being.
When you stop poisoning your body with alcohol, you will look better and feel healthier. Some parents found that once they gave up drinking, they looked ten years younger. When you look better, you inevitably feel better about yourself and, in return, take better care of your children.
3. More Patience and More Energy
Anyone with children that are old enough to talk can tell you that hearing “mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy, mommy” a million times over and over throughout the day will test any parent’s patience. Being sober and present will help you become a more patient parent.
Imagine how more difficult it would be to get through the difficult times with your kids if you were hungover or intoxicated. When you give up drinking, you will find a renewed source of energy that can never be experienced during active addiction. Being a sober parent will give you the much-needed energy to keep up with your children.
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4. Meaningful and Improved Relationships
Being a sober parent will give you the ability to form meaningful relationships with your children. When you are no longer caught up in active addiction, you can create quality relationships and friendships with other parents.
Showing up fully present and sober for playdates will let your children form meaningful relationships with other children themselves. Being sober also provides you with the skills needed to communicate effectively with your husband and other family members so that you can work together as a team.
Improved relationships and emotional connections with your children are an immediate benefit of being a sober parent. Intoxicated parents cannot interact with their children in a proper emotional context because an intoxicated parent’s emotions are compromised by the continuous intake of a mind-altering substance.
When your child is upset about something, he won’t be able to come to you for proper emotional support. When intoxicated, you cannot connect with your child emotionally, and children often come away from these interactions more upset and bewildered.
5. Taking Better Care of Yourself Sober Let’s You Take Better Care of Your Children
The greatest reason for living a sober life as a parent is the ability to take better care of your children. By taking better care of yourself being sober, you can take better care of your children and show them all the good things that life has to offer.
When your child is having a tough day at school, your child will receive the best attention and understanding from a sober parent instead of a dismissive or inappropriate response from a parent that is not sober.
Children need their parents for advice and compassion when going through the challenges that life presents, and being a sober parent enables you to provide positive direction and comfort.
Security is another area that is affected by an addictive lifestyle. When your child is constantly experiencing inconsistent and frightening behavior from an active alcoholic or addictive parent, your child’s sense of safety and well-being is greatly affected. Parents who suffer from drinking problems often display inconsistent or unpredictable parenting.
Sometimes children can be affected by not eating well or missing school. Your children might not feel comfortable having friends over or might miss events due to your inability to drive while intoxicated.
When you are under the influence of alcohol, you may become less tolerant and verbally abusive of your child’s failure to perform a household chore. A range of research on the relationship between maternal depression and child functioning indicated that the inconsistency in parenting under the influence could undermine your child’s sense of order, self-esteem, control, and stability in the family environment.
Sober parents are responsible and reliable, and their children fully trust them; as they continuously witness the best behavior of sober parents, the sense of trust and security is strong. Children of sober parents are happy and live their lives to the fullest when parents attend school plays or in the stands at the ball game.
7. Time for The Little Things
It is often the little things that make a big difference to your child when you become sober. You will be present and sober for a bedtime story or a kiss goodnight; it is the little things that make a child’s childhood special and memorable. An intoxicated parent often reeks of liquor, and a sloppy goodnight kiss and no time for a bedtime story is no childhood memory any child should have.
Being a sober parent, when your child gets up in the morning, a healthy breakfast and a fresh-faced, smiling parent greets them. Your child will get to school on time and be ready to take on the day’s studies because you, as a sober parent, helped them with homework the night before. When your child gets off the bus from school, you are standing there to greet them as a sober parent.
Being a sober parent gives you more time for quality “me time” to relax and re-energize. Therefore, better able to be there for your children when you are around them. If you were drinking, you would use that “me time” for things that drained you instead of making your life more meaningful by spending it with your family.
8. Better Memory
When you are a sober parent, you will have no problem remembering the important dates in your child’s life again. No forgetting and missing out on important events, like school plays, birthdays, or school meetings. You will not wake up the next morning full of shame and regret as you wondered what happened the previous night.
Living life as a sober parent with a great memory, you will remember everything. Being sober leave you more aware of the finer details in life. Being sober gives you the mental clarity to know your passions and accomplish your life goals.
9. You Have More Fun with Your Children
As a sober parent, you will have more fun with your children and more time to play the games they like to play. Living sober rather than intoxicated, you have more time, money, and energy for the fun activities children need. Fun activities with your children like going to the park, pool, beach, or zoo when being sober will let you enjoy the fun and happy experience of daily life with your family that would otherwise be missed while you were intoxicated.
10. You Earn Respect
When you are a sober parent, you respect your family as they acknowledge your commitment to be and stay sober. You can gain trust and leave a positive impression on people around you. Volunteering in community service and helping others earns you respect.
When you are a sober parent, you can follow through with commitments. Being sober is a great display of self-respect when you commit to stop the abuse of your mind and body and when you respect yourself, your family is more likely to respect you.
11. Being a Sober Parent is Good for Your Finances
Being a sober parent is great for your finances. A lot of money is spent on alcohol, and when you stop drinking, you get to save all that money you would usually spend on alcohol for special trips to the waterpark, zoo, or museum. Also, with more money to spare, you can pay off some of your debts, save for special birthday purchases or invest in a piano, ballet, horse-riding lesson, or karate class for your child.
Instead of emptying your bank account on alcohol and having nothing to show, you can now spend your money gaining meaningful, happy experiences with your family who love and care for you. It is impossible to be financially responsible when you are trying to maintain your alcohol addiction.
The constant use of alcohol by a parent can undermine healthy family relationships by producing extra financial strains. A Job loss associated with an alcohol-abusing parent will directly affect family finances. A parent with a drinking problem can have difficulty obtaining a new job.
Being sober makes you a better parent because you will have financial stability with more money to spend on your children. You will no longer have to worry about paying all your bills or putting food on your table.
Parents who use alcohol provide less nurturing and love to their children. Intoxicated parents are more “emotionally unavailable” due to the drinking, due to irritability, hangovers, and negative moods. All these factors that come with an intoxicated parent disrupt healthy emotional development in children.
Parents who have a drinking problem can adversely affect their children’s development and adjustment by interfering with good parenting skills.
Parents who have drinking problems often use harsh discipline. An intoxicated parent might exercise poorer judgment when disciplining their children and can become less inhibited and overly aggressive towards their child.
Being a sober parent makes you a better parent because you can be more loving and kinder to your children. When you are sober, you are more in control of your emotions and think clearly. When it is necessary to discipline your child, you can do it with love, respect, and understanding.
Sober parents are more loving towards their children; when you have a clear head, you can easily see when a child needs a hug and a word of encouragement.
Being a parent can be a rewarding part of your life, but it is also very hard. With the stress of taking care of your children comes societal pressure to consume alcohol to escape everyday stresses; everywhere you look, on social settings, TV, or social media platforms, you will find the “mommy wine” culture.
Turning to alcohol as an escape or a way to relax when you had a stressful day with your children is an easy, quick fix, but it is not the cure; the consequences can be devastating for you and your family in the long run. Parents who have struggled with alcohol addiction understand well the impact that alcohol abuse has on their children.
You become a better loving and understanding parent when you are a sober parent demonstrating safe and positive habits to your children and be present and coherent for them. Being a sober parent, you get the opportunity to develop meaningful and rewarding relationships with your children and family.
After earning his Master of Social Work from the University of Toronto, Stuart gained experience working with families in community mental health settings and in the child protection sector. Since becoming a father himself, Stuart now works in private practice offering psychotherapy services. FatherResource is an opportunity for Stuart to share what he learns on his journey as a father with a larger audience.