My kids bicker constantly. I feel like I have no control. When I finally get them in bed at night, I grab a glass of wine to calm down. Lately one glass is turning into two or three before I feel relaxed. I know this isn’t good but it’s what’s getting me through. What should I do?


I have great empathy for you and the stress that you’re facing. There are times when all parents feel overwhelmed or discouraged by their relationship with their children and their family dynamics. My concern for you is two-fold:

Firstly, that you are facing this family stress on a regular, ongoing basis. And secondly, that you are turning to alcohol to calm yourself. It sounds as though you recognise that these are both problems, and that you are looking for a better way to "do life." This is important – you have come to a place where you see clearly what is going wrong, and are also motivated to change things. That’s a good beginning!

You’re not alone

You certainly are not alone in turning to wine to relax; the online world abounds with jokes and comments about using "mummy juice" as a reward for hard days of parenting. If you dig deeper, you may also find that other mums are struggling with abusing alcohol.

Addiction or unhealthy habit?

The first thing is to determine if drinking wine has become an addiction for you, or an unhealthy habit. If this feels like something you are not able to control easily or stop on your own, please get some professional support. Talk with your family doctor, and/or contact Alcoholics Anonymous or Celebrate Recovery, a Christian version of AA. I would also encourage you to confide in a trusted friend, pastor or family member. Sin and shame abide when there is secrecy. Let your secret and fears out to someone who will listen to you, support and love you, and pray for you.

Healing parent-child relationships

Secondly, it’s important to work on healing and changing the stressed relationships between your children, and between you and them. Ongoing regular fighting and lack of unity is not part of God’s good and loving plan for your family. You are bearing the scars of it, and I wonder if your children are also? I would suggest that you connect with a trained Christian counsellor – someone who can help you explore more effective parenting tools, ways to reconcile the hurts among everyone, and also healthier ways of coping with stress.

Reprinted with permission © 2016 Focus on the Family (Canada) Association. All rights reserved.

Jennifer Antonsen

Jennifer Antonsen is a counsellor on staff at Focus on the Family Canada.

Tell your friends