Helping Children of Alcoholic Parents

Find out whether your church, school, or community organization can help you sponsor a project. Getting to know other parents and guardians can help you keep closer tabs on your child. Friendly relations can make it easier for you to call the parent of a teen who is having a party to be sure that a responsible adult will be present and that alcohol will not be available. You’re likely to find out that you’re not the only adult who wants to prevent teen alcohol use—many other parents share your concern. Make it clear to your child that you don’t allow unchaperoned parties or other teen gatherings in your home. If possible, however, encourage him or her to invite friends over when you are at home.

Perhaps to avoid criticism or the anger of their parent with AUD, many children tend to become super-responsible or perfectionistic overachievers or workaholics. On the other hand, people often go in the opposite direction, mirroring the same bad behaviors they witnessed during childhood. If a child’s parent was mean or abusive when they were drunk, adult children can grow up with a fear of all angry people.

What Will Happen to My Child if I Need to Go to Rehab?

An absent parent with an AUD may not provide their child with an accurate perception of themselves, which can cause life-long issues with self-image. Children of alcoholic households, even well after they’re grown, may struggle with confidence, social comparison, positive and/or negative feedback, boundaries, self-doubt, and accepting help. It is often seen that children of alcoholic parents are very secretive about their lives. They do not like to discuss their parents or their family with their friends. Most kids are ashamed of their parents and their lifestyle and do not want their friends to know about it.

In addition, increased difficulties in academic and social settings can be the result of this kind of environment. It’s estimated that about 1 in 10 children (7.5 million) have lived with at least one parent with alcohol use disorder, based on a 2017 report from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). With therapy and support, ACOAs can make changes in their life and treat the underlying PTSD and trauma.

Trust Issues and Difficulty Forming Attachments

Children and adolescents often feel competing urges to comply with and resist parental influences. During childhood, the balance usually tilts toward compliance, but during adolescence, the balance often shifts toward resistance how alcoholic parents affect their children as teens prepare for the autonomy of adulthood. With open, respectful communication and explanations of boundaries and expectations, parents can continue to influence their children’s decisions well into adolescence and beyond.

A child, who is nurtured in a home where one or both parents may be alcoholics, may find recluse in substance abuse himself as he grows. This is because for him it is an acceptable thing because he has seen his parents do it without any guilt or hesitation. It is seen that a child who grows up in such surroundings is four times more likely to opt for various methods of substance abuse in comparison to a child who grew up in a normal household. Staying in the same house with alcoholics can be very difficult for other adults; on the other hand, a child’s psyche can get severely damaged.

Risks for Adult Children of Alcoholic Mothers

Parental alcoholism gave rise to various harmful experiences, including neglect of basic needs, verbal and physical violence, and sexual abuse by a family member. The participants struggled with feelings of abandonment, sadness and anger for lack of love and care, and anxiety and distress in dealing with the „two faces“ of the alcoholic parent. Neglect and violence were most salient, and are described further below. Because of the instability in households with alcoholic parents, children often feel vulnerable and helpless. This lack of control frequently results in an unhealthy focus on having control over one’s life, situations, or the behaviors of those around them. An intense need for control can lead to problems with forming and maintaining intimate relationships.