Children of Alcoholic Parents

Posted by on May 13, 2021 in Health with 0 Comments


Alcohol abuse is a serious issue and can escalate as a person becomes more dependent on the substance. While it is the most common addiction in the United States, only about 7% of individuals with alcohol use disorder receive the treatment they need. Not only does alcohol use affect the consumer, it can also have a detrimental effect on close friends and family members, especially children.

Impact on Young Children

Over 17.5 million children  in the United States are living with a parent who has alcohol use disorder (AUD). Neighbors, friends or family members could be struggling with alcohol abuse without even being aware of the dangers they are facing.

Some parents do not even realize that they have a drinking problem. Mothers who end every night with a few glasses of wine, or fathers who drink one too many beers throughout the evening are often oblivious to their drinking patterns. A high-functioning alcoholic will likely not seek treatment because their lives seem manageable.

Some ways that the effects of alcoholic parents shows up in children include:

  • Confusion about what normal, healthy families look like
  • Trust issues towards adults
  • Fear of angry people or confrontation
  • Feelings of inadequacy

These can all affect a child’s growth and development, as well as the way they interact with others. Not only does it affect childhood, but these consequences can also be seen later in adulthood.

Impact on Adult Children

When children grow up with an alcoholic parent, they are likely to portray negative effects later in life. These people may even come to resent a parent due to characteristics coming up in their personal, social, and professional lives.

Some characteristics of adult children of alcoholics include:

  • Difficulty with intimacy
  • Constantly seeking affirmation and approval
  • Extremely loyal even when loyalty is undeserved
  • Judging themselves harshly
  • Overreacting to things outside their control

Although not all these traits might show up in a child of an alcoholic parent, it is likely that some of them will play a part in their adult lives. This is why it is important to see the signs of alcoholism and begin the path to recovery.

Risk of Alcoholism in Adulthood

It is believed that children whose parents struggle with alcohol abuse are likely to become alcoholics themselves. According to researchers, parents who do the following are more likely to pass their drinking patterns down to their children:

  • Abuse alcohol and other substances
  • Abuse alcohol while depressed or dealing with other mental health issues
  • Cause conflict in the family, leading to aggression, or violence

Children from alcoholic homes do not always become alcoholics, but the risk is higher. Nonetheless, seeing a parent abuse substances such as alcohol can leave lasting pain for a child. When a parent decides it’s time to quit drinking, their child has a lowered likelihood of developing this addiction later on.

Time for a Change

If you feel like some of these things describe you or a loved one, it may be time to make a change. There are plenty of treatment options available, and it is important to research what may be best for your situation. Children can feel the effects of alcoholism deep into their adult lives. If you are a parent struggling with alcoholism, make a change for the benefit of your children. It’s never too late to seek help.

The Hope House in Scottsdale, Arizona has special treatment options for those struggling with alcohol abuse, as well as other substance abuse issues.

About the Author

Emily Galvin is a creator on behalf of The Hope House, a luxury rehab in Arizona dedicated to helping people overcome addiction and achieve long-term sobriety.

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