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Monday, July 20, 2009

Should Young Children be Involved in a Parent's Intervention?


I hope by now most of my readers have had a chance to watch Bret's story. There has been a lot written about Bret and his intervention involving his children. Should young children be involved in a parent's intervention? Obviously, every case is different and that needs to be taken into account by all interventionists attempting to help families of alcoholics.

Bret's teenage daughter Kelsey and younger son Kyle were present at Bret's televised intervention on A&E. The family and the interventionist agreed that having the children present could be very persuasive in helping Bret make the decision to go to treatment. Unfortunately, the children's pleas were relatively ineffective leaving them both angry and in tears. Many people watching this episode may feel like the children's involvement in the intervention was unnecessary and damaging to the children. However, children of alcoholics who are at a cognizant age are not strangers to the pain and suffering at the hands of their addicted parent. Kelsey and Kyle have dealt and are still dealing with the years of pain; unfortunately the children of addicts need to confront their parent in order to explain how their drinking deeply affects them. This is a sad but true reality, one that is rarely pretty but indeed necessary.

Without a doubt no one wants to see a child suffering and seeing a show that deals with the sickness of drug and alcohol addiction is never pleasant to watch. We need to keep in mind that the interventionists, like Ken Seeley, know what they are doing and if there was ever a point where the children's safety was in jeopardy they would have been pulled away from danger. Interventions can be a trial and error event; many different avenues of techniques need to be attempted when trying to convince someone they need treatment. Ultimately, it was not Bret's children that got him into treatment; but, I believe the children's role was ever so crucial, not only for Bret but also the children. Kelsey and Kyle are two very strong children who wanted and were allowed to participate in their father's intervention that relieved Bret of his dependency long enough for him to die a sober individual. Those last days that they were able to spend with their Dad were ever so precious and probably worth a hundred interventions.

I encourage you to comment on whether children should be present at an intervention. If you are struggling with questions of how to do an intervention for your loved one, call Hope by the Sea...

P.S. A Jury recommended a sentence of life in prison for Jesse James Hollywood.


  1. I have been watching Intervention for a number of years. I do not watch every week, as it is often too painful. But I did watch this episode. I think you are correct that since the children had seen what alcoholism did to their family, they really deserved to be involved in the intervention process. People need to know what this disease can do to a family. A few years ago I attended a family reunion. I had the opportunity to meet a first cousin who had been given away to strangers some 50 years ago by my aunt, an alcoholic. Maybe had interventions existed so many years ago, my cousin would have had a different life, and then, too, maybe my aunt did the best she could do for her little baby daughter. I remember searching a cemetery with my cousin for her mother's pauper gravestone. We found it and my cousin gently laid flowers to remember her mother.

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