How Alcoholic Parents Affect Child Development

Written by Chloe Nicosia

How Alcoholic Parents Affect Child Development Is Of Serious Concern

Alcoholics tend to live in a world they feel is exclusively theirs. They don’t believe that their drinking affects anyone but themselves. They are wrong. Few people understand how alcoholic parents affect child development. The impact of alcoholic parents can be so severe that the effects last a lifetime.

How Alcoholic Parents Affect Child Development

The impact of alcoholism on children restricts their ability to understand normal family relationships. Psychological studies show many of them exhibit the same characteristics as the victims of childhood physical and sexual abuse. The long-lasting effects of how alcoholic parents affect child development can continue to impact the quality of life well into adulthood. How does a child of alcoholics raise his or her offspring when they don’t know what childhood is supposed to be like? If you have alcoholic family members with children, the following issues are likely present in their lives:

  • The children can’t trust parents to keep their word. They can only hope they will show up at their school program, sporting event, or dance recital.
  • The children are afraid one or both parents will come to their school’s open house when they are drunk.
  • The children fear their friends will discover their parent’s drinking problems and not want to associate anymore.
  • The children are often left on their own to find food and fix something to eat. Often they eat junk food because it doesn’t require cooking.
  • The children have to get up and get ready for school without supervision because parents are passed out in bed. Many times they have to wear dirty clothing.
  • The children often go to school with no breakfast or lunch, and are too embarrassed to tell anyone.

Child Of Alcoholic Parent Syndrome

Alcohol abuse is an enemy in the home. It disrupts both parenting skills and normal childhood development. The child of alcoholic parent syndrome frequently misses out on the bonding experiences that are such a big part of emotional security. Some children believe they are responsible for their parent’s drinking and become perfectionists in their efforts to please them. Other children become withdrawn in an effort to avoid upsetting their parents in fear of reprisal.

Author and expert Claudia Black believes that a child of alcoholic parent syndrome grows up following “three dangerous rules: don’t trust, don’t feel, and don’t talk.” These children have self-absorbed parents that forget birthdays, miss graduations, and always put alcohol first. This lifestyle inflicts great sadness, stress, low self-esteem, and emotional pain on the children, and they enter their adult life without any training on how to succeed in the job market or in social relationships.

Growing Up With An Alcoholic Parent

Growing up with an alcoholic parent is a constant fight for survival, but sadly many older children succumb to the same issue as their mother or father. Depression and anxiety afflict many children who are growing up with an alcoholic parent, and they suppress their emotions in order to survive. The home environment causes trust issues, fear of others, and intimacy problems as they grow to be adults. The children who continue to harbor anxiety are at great risk of becoming addicts like their parent. Growing up with an alcoholic parent or parents often means the oldest child has to do much of the parenting chores with his or her younger siblings, and in these instances the “in-charge” child misses out on most of the childhood years and experiences. As a result of this unrealistic family life, the child of alcoholic parent syndrome grows up haunted by one or more of the following issues:

  • Isolation and fear of authority figures
  • Loss of personal identity
  • Constantly seeking approval
  • Can’t handle personal criticism
  • Become an alcoholic, marry an alcoholic, or both
  • Live life as a victim
  • Feel guilty when standing up for rights
  • Addicted to excitement
  • Unable to tell the difference between love and pity
  • Inflict harsh personal judgment
  • Suffer low self-esteem
  • Fear abandonment

Don’t let children in your family suffer from the neglect or abuses of an alcoholic parent. A quick phone call can provide you help on how to plan an intervention and how to get a loved one into detox and rehab programs. Call us today at 1.800.429.7690.

Sources:

http://www.aaets.org/article230.htm

https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/200702/toxic-brew