Kids who grow up with alcoholic parents live in a very challenging world. Their parents often exhibit unpredictable behavior, and provide little to no structure in the home. This lack of appropriate supervision and care can have some very troubling results.
Almost 30 million children per year are exposed the consequences of an alcoholic lifestyle. Violence, abuse, neglect, financial issues, and malnourishment are common effects of an alcoholic parent or guardian. Read on to further understand the relationship between children and their addicted parents.
Unpredictability in the behavior of parents
When a parent is an alcoholic, their children typically do not understand what that means for life. Children do not know that they mom or dad might wake up in a bad mood because they drank too much the night before. They often end up thinking the negative attitude was caused by something they did, and become very anxious or depressed.
The social cues an alcoholic parent gives to their children are distorted and dysfunctional. Sadly, without the intervention of treatment, this often leads to the continuance of the disease in the form of generational alcoholism. The kids learn how to behave and cope in the world from their parents.
Psychological effects of the alcoholic parent
Kids almost always take the aggression, violence, and unpredictability of their parents onto themselves. They feel as though it is their fault somehow, and become very critical of themselves.
Because they are usually unaware of the effects of addiction, kids are left to sort through their thoughts and feelings using only a childlike filter. Confusion and frustration become a way of life.
Children often have trouble in school
Due to the constant discourse at home, kids of alcoholics almost always have trouble in school. Sometimes it is merely behavioral, but in most cases, their grades and their attitude will suffer. Children of alcoholics typically have a tough time relating to other kids at school, too.
Problems in school are typically a result of the upheaval and unpredictability of the child’s home life. Learning and social situations present a challenge when a child has not had the proper rest due to screaming parents in the next room.
Medical repercussions for children and parents
Children of alcoholics have been proven to suffer from an increased rate of stress-related illnesses and asthma. Due to the increased stress levels in the life of a COA (child of an alcoholic), they are more likely to develop enteritis and colitis as well.
When mothers continue drinking throughout their pregnancy, children are almost always born with certain defects. Fetal Alcohol Syndrome has lasting effects and can severely impact the child’s quality of life.