Family is always the first one to take the hit, right? When something goes wrong in our lives, they’re the first to feel the blow. I mean, it makes sense. But children? Man oh man, the main effects of alcohol abuse on children are just too many.
They’re the closest relationship to us and they care about us more than anyone in the world. There may be some exceptions but those family ties… those are real. You’d take a bullet for them! And sometimes those bonds can be extremely painful.
The most vulnerable in my opinion are the young minds – the children of the family. Abusing alcohol puts such a large strain on the family and when there are children involved, it’s almost double the strain. Those young minds are so easily manipulated and so easily influenced, every single thing you say or do is engraved in those minds for a very long time.
Alcohol can start influencing children even before they’re born, while they’re still in the womb. It’ll continue throughout their life and well into their teenage and adult years. This is why if you are suffering from signs of alcohol addiction, don’t hesitate, seek out alcohol rehab in the Toronto area.
You know that “Why” phase kids go through when they’re always asking questions? Well kids may get stuck in that stage for ages when they have a parent or parents who are abusing alcohol… and it won’t be simple questions regarding the fire hydrant or baking sheet.
They may ask themselves questions like “Why do they do it? Is drinking a good thing?” “Why won’t they stop fighting?” “Is it my fault?” Alcohol abuse is not something to be taken lightly. It’s a disease. And like all diseases, it requires treatment. Because it may not be contagious, but it can be learned. Your children watch you and look up to you.
And children aren’t the only ones who might start asking questions. As an alcohol abuser, parents may start feeling guilty when signs of child neglect pop up. Maybe it’ll be in the form of a neighbour passing a comment or being called in to speak to the principal about your child going to school without breakfast or other meals.
And when overwhelming feelings begin to surface, it’s common to start blaming others for your troubles. Our Toronto drug rehab program deals with these kinds of issues.
According to The American Academy of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, teens with alcohol-dependent parents report feeling alone, unloved, depressed or burdened by their alcoholic parents’ lives at home.
And unfortunately for the children, there is nothing they can do about it; it is up to the alcohol abuser to make a difference. No one else can make the change for the person or make the person feel better.
These are some of the things the child of an alcoholic can do to help cope with these burdens:
The fact that you don’t beat your child doesn’t mean you’re not abusing them. There are different forms of child abuse. Neglect is one of them. The RCMP defines neglect as the “failure to give due attention or care to a child, resulting in serious emotional or physical harm.”
Neglect is usually a result of negative caregiver relationships and when one or both of the parents are abusing alcohol, there rarely is a positive relationship. Children who suffer from neglect are more at risk for abuse, as well as physical, academic, social, and emotional issues in the future.
A child does not have to be born yet for it to undergo the abuse of an alcoholic mother or parent. Pregnant women who are alcoholic or whose partner is alcoholic are often at risk of:
If the mother experiences the above, the unborn baby is likely to be affected. The baby will be at risk of:
Unfortunately, a child does not shed his/her past as a snake sheds its previous skin. Instead, the past really affects how the child grows up – and for the child of an alcoholic, that might mean growing up with issues like:
By not appropriately educating the future generations, we are greatly robbing them of knowledge which could very well save their lives in the future.
So you tell your kid about alcohol, now what? Doesn’t that just expose them to alcohol and increase their risk of consuming it at an early age? No, not really.
You’ve got to choose the right time and method of communicating this information with your child. Drinkaware.co.uk indicates that parents should be open about discussing alcohol with their children. Instead of laying down hypocritical rules that forbid your child from drinking when you yourself drink, explain to your child the benefits of waiting until you’re older before consuming alcohol, or what the effects of a hangover feel like, and why your children should not end up in the same situation.
Don’t hide your alcohol consumption from your child, because habits will form and this may become a habit that just can’t be shaken off easily.
Children will often model after what the adults in their lives do, whether they pick up good or bad habits. In order to encourage your children to be open with the topic of alcohol, it’s very important that you are yourself open about your alcohol use.
How much do you drink? Why do you drink that amount? What happens when you drink too much without being careful?
Discuss with your child the effects you suffer short-term and long-term after drinking. Doing so allows the bond of trust to develop, and it gives your child the knowledge they need to make better decisions in the future.
And being open about it also allows the child to learn and form their own opinions about alcohol and its effects on the human body.