The Impact Alcoholic Parents Have on Kids
You aren't "only harming yourself"
Alcoholism is a significant issue that affects many families. I know this not just from those I’ve worked with and the research I’ve conducted but also from being a child around booze and an adult addicted to the liquid poison. The consequences of being raised by alcoholics fragment children in ways that are unique to each child yet understood by all who’ve been through it.
When one or both parents are alcoholics, the effects can be devastating to the entire family; and the children of alcoholic parents suffer in many ways, with a multitude of these effects lasting into adulthood.
Research has shown that children of alcoholic parents are more likely to:
Suffer from depression
Have difficulty in school
Become alcoholics themselves
Additionally, they may have difficulty forming relationships and managing stress.
Children of alcoholics are also more likely to experience physical abuse, neglect, and emotional abuse.
Alcoholism, the Micro-Suicide
One of the most significant effects of having alcoholic parents is the feeling of abandonment. Children of alcoholics often feel abandoned by their parents, who are too distracted by their drinking to provide the necessary emotional support needed.
This can lead to feelings of worthlessness, guilt, and insecurity.
Additionally, it is common for children of alcoholic parents to develop a sense of shame. They may feel embarrassed by their parent's drinking and try to hide the situation from family, friends, and even themselves. This can lead to social isolation and difficulty forming relationships later in life. It wasn’t until I took a hard look at my life that I saw my drinking for what it was, “the slow suicide of Zac”. I loved my children more than anything, yet here I was, letting alcohol take a piece of me away from them (and myself) day after day.
Children of alcoholics are at a greater risk for developing psychological issues, which should be enough to put down the bottle as it is a choice to drink. Even me, at my darkest point, knew that I could choose to stop drinking; I just never did - until I did for good.
These kids' issues can be further exacerbated by the additional stress of living in an alcoholic home. Children may also struggle with academic performance due to the lack of parental support and guidance, along with confidence and trust issues, which only worsen until the child’s spirit breaks and they become the monster they hated for so long.
If you can beat them, join them.
The effects of having alcoholic parents do not end with childhood. As adults, children of alcoholics may suffer from a greater risk of developing alcoholism and other substance abuse issues thanks in part to the coping developed in the youth and the supported behavior by the addicted parent thinking, if they drink with me, they aren’t judging me.
These mothers and fathers would rather their children struggle by their side than get the help needed. Parents need to be better, not just for themselves, but for the crater they’re leaving in the life of their children.
It is essential to recognize the effects that having alcoholic parents can have on children and to take steps to reduce the impact. It is crucial for children of alcoholics to receive support from other family members, teachers, and counselors. On top of all this, alcoholics should seek treatment and counseling to reduce the impact of their drinking before they kill themselves or kill the relationship that still exists with their loved ones.
While it can be challenging to deal with the effects of having alcoholic parents, it is necessary to remember that it is possible to overcome these issues and lead a healthy and prosperous life.
With the proper support and resources, it is possible to break the cycle of alcoholism; I know this because I have lived it, and that achievement is something I want you to be able to reach.
- Zachary Small
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