Many adults in the U.S. are affected by alcoholism, and various aspects of their personal lives can suffer. Job performance is usually affected as they fail to fulfill their responsibilities or even show up to work because of being inebriated or due to constant cravings for alcohol. Relationships with significant others can also be disturbed.
What people tend to overlook is that when the person with alcohol addiction is a parent, the children would suffer the most. The drinking problem can especially be concerning for the kids. If the parent doesn’t get treatment and stick to being sober, alcoholism could destroy the family.
Effects on the Child’s Mental Health and Behaviors
Children can develop conflicting emotions when one or both parents are alcoholic. They could feel depression and resentment because of their parents’ inability to take good care of the household. They could also fear the alcoholic parent/s, especially when the latter has outbursts of anger whenever intoxicated. In some cases, children can develop guilt when the parent/s blame the child for the drinking problem during periods of inebriation or when they feel helpless in trying to correct their parent/s condition.
These negative feelings can translate to a child’s unusual behaviors at home. He/she could be withdrawn and stay confined in their bedrooms to avoid being scolded or to simply escape the situation. Conversely, he/she can also be outright confrontational with the alcoholic parent or compensate by taking the parent’s role (taking care of siblings or maintaining the home, for instance).
The effects can be observed in school and in other aspects of the child’s life, as well. They could be embarrassed in school, fail in their academic performance, and have difficulties in forming relationships with peers because of trust or insecurity issues. Worse, they could develop delinquent behaviors or drinking problems themselves.
Why Treatment and Recovery Matter
The strains on the parent-child relationship can be challenging, especially when the parent has no solid support system, but treatment should be initiated to prevent alcoholism from totally destroying that family. An alcohol rehab facility that serves Los Angeles and other points of Orange County, CA—such as Sober Life USA—can help those struggling with these problems start the path to recovery by eliminating alcohol cravings, providing counseling, and developing a plan tailor-fit to the situation at hand. This commitment to getting better can help restore relationships in some cases and even open doors to acceptance and forgiveness.
Children Of Alcoholics, American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry
Alcohol and Drug Abuse Affects Everyone in the Family, National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc.
The Effects of Parental Alcoholism on Children, About.com