One misconception that many alcoholics and addicts seem to have is that their drinking or substance abuse is not affecting anyone else. Many times they will make statements like, I’m not hurting anyone but myself unfortunately the behavior of addicts and alcoholics can affect everyone around them, including family, friends, employers and coworkers.
Perhaps those most vulnerable to the effects of alcoholism or addiction are their children. If you have a drinking or a drug abuse problem and you have children in your home, they are being affected, sometimes so profoundly that the effects last their entire lifetimes. Children of alcoholics and addicts can have deep-seated psychological and emotional reactions to growing up with an addicted parent. To demonstrate just how hazardous parental addiction can be to children, consider the fact that many of the characteristics described by adult children of alcoholics are among those also reported by children who were physically or sexually abused by a parent. Other contexts in which these outcomes have been reported include children who were adopted or lived in foster homes, children with parents who demonstrated compulsive behaviors such as gambling or overeating, children with a parent who had a chronic illness and children who were raised by overly strict religious parents.
Kids have plenty to deal with growing up – social pressures, school expectations, adjusting to life changes, and staying healthy. Living with an alcoholic can throw a kid’s life upside down, changing the way they view their priorities. A child’s emotional security and stability is one of the cornerstones of development. When this is threatened or compromised, a child grows up with a skewed viewpoint about themselves and the world around them. As you could guess, this kind of environment goes completely against the concept of an emotionally and physically safe cocoon as mentioned earlier. Kids don’t focus on their own growing up because they are too occupied with surviving each day.
Alcoholism is referred to as a family disease. This is because the addiction not only harms the alcoholic but also everyone who has to live with them. Children always suffer when they share a house with an alcoholic parent. There can be a real sense of shame and they can spend a lot of time living in fear. Unfortunately, alcoholism is common and there are many children who find themselves in this situation. Children of alcoholics are more likely to develop an addiction when they get older. This can be avoided by understanding the process of addiction and looking out for the warning signs. Some children of alcoholics avoid the problem completely by making their mind up never to drink alcohol or take drugs. Schools and teachers can help these kids to come out this trauma.