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Viki, Parent
Category: Parenting
Satisfied Customers: 860
Experience:  Mother of 6 kids ages 5-22 yrs; other-health impaired, normal and gifted kids
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6 year old heavy questions.

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my godson is 6 years old. i spend a lot of time with him after school waiting for his mom to get home from work. Recently he started asking questions about his father. his father and mother divorced about 2 years ago. his father is an alcoholic and also living in a homeless shelter. his father is working to get back on his feet and is in several programs (he also gambles). We always tell my godson that his father is working hard to be strong so he can be a part of their lives. he witnessed his father drunk during a time when his father had visitation. he had been drinking and driving with the boys in the car. It caused a big uproar with everyone. it made my godsons mother angry and his fathers mother angry. my godson remembers that everyone was angry at his father but he doesnt understand why. he blames us for why his father is not around. no matter how we explain, he doesnt seem to accept/understand the truth. What do we do?


You must be a wonderful person to take the time and effort to care for this child. You deserve a lot of credit. I'm sure you explained things well and with great tact and understanding. However, the fact is, that your godson needs to hear these things from an outside authority- one that is not involved personally in the situation, but maybe professionally.

He needs to hear that there is no blame attached to anyone for this turn of events. His father has an illness that causes him to do unsafe things, sometimes- no blame there- he's doing the right thing by seeking help. His mother and grandmother were rightfully concerned about his safety- no blame there, that's their job. And of course no blame should be attached to you for getting involved- it's not fair to shoot the messinger.

If anyone in the family (including the child) is getting counseling, they should ask this professional to talk to the child. Perhaps one of the program directors for the father. If this is not possible, then speak to the guidance department at the school. They should be brought into the picture, anyway, so that they can be aware of any potential problems that might impact on school. Of course, the child himself could benefit from counseling, but right now it is important to have someone who is not intimately connected with your godson, to give him this information.

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
We are working on finding a therapist for him. The school is of no help. They have their hands full dealing with "real problem" children and they are overwhelmed. My godson is doing great in school - never has any academic or social trouble. He doesnt exhibit particular problems but sometimes he does ask questions or make comments to us that show he doesn't clearly understand. He doesn't act out or have anger. He often says enlightened things about his father. Its just, of course, he is 6, and he doesn't understand things that ... for some adults don't make sense. Why drink when its going to cause you to do unsafe things. Fair enough question. Hard answer. Why didnt my father just get help before he got really sick. Fair enough question. Hard answer. Nothing is every simple. Finding a therapist that isnt overly expensive is the main problem. As a single parent his mother is struggling - the father doesnt pay child support due to his situation - and she technically makes too much to qualify for any aid. Myself and my friends do our best to financially support her and her family but we have our own families too. We're still looking for someone though. That is an on going search. I guess I wanted to know if there was anything we could do in the meantime.


The "questions and comments" he makes (particularly the ones where he seems to struggle to find someone to blame) are typical of a young child who is really secretly afraid that he himself is to blame. Children do not think or reason logically like adults. This is a jump that most would make. And its not that far-fetched in his mind, because he was there, with his father in the car. Like many children of alcoholics, whether he is aware of it or not, he feels that he must assume the "responsible person" mantle, because his father cannot.

He sounds like a really terrific kid. It's great that he seems to be coping, but if he cannot be reassured soon, he is likely to have some problems. At 6, most children will believe and trust an authority figure. Usually a caregiver suffices, but in this case all of these are mixed up in his feelings of anxiety. That is why I think someone outside the situation should talk to him. Perhaps a clergyman? Anyway, here is a list of resources for you:

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