When parents struggle with addiction, it can affect the lives of their children in many different ways. Addictive disorders, such as alcoholism, is often hereditary, and passed down through generations. Children with parents of addictions can suffer from depression, trauma, guilt and low self-esteem.
It is important to recognize the signs of children who are in homes where parents are dealing with an addiction. Besides suffering from depression and feelings of worthlessness, they may display negative attention seeking habits and poor educational performance. Other signs are lack of proper nutrition, clean clothes, and hygiene. In some cases, children are removed from the home of parents who are addicts by protective services. When children are removed from homes due to addiction, they may feel shame and abandonment. Some may become withdrawn, while others act out in a violent manner.
Addiction is a disease. Make it a point that the addiction is not the fault of the child and there is nothing they could have done to stop it from happening. They should also realize they are not alone, and their situation isn’t unique. They should know that other children also have parents who struggle with addiction, even children in their schools. It helps if they can communicate their emotions with someone they trust. This could be a teacher, foster parent, or counselor. There are also programs specifically for children who have loved ones affected by drug addiction or alcoholism. Call us today and we can refer you to one!
Children of parents with addiction still love their parents and are very worried about what will happen to them. There are many programs designed to help children and family member learn to take care of themselves and get help from codependent behaviors. Addiction affects family members as much as it affects the addict. It’s a family disease.
Addicts usually don’t recognize they have a problem on their own. They may be hostile if confronted. Children will often think their parent’s addictions are only temporary and if they are patient and perfect, they can wait it out.
Children of addicts are accustomed to dealing with mood swings and erratic behavior from their Mom or Dad. They may be waiting for adults to act out emotions in volatile ways. It may be hard for them to make new friends or be comfortable around other people.
The children may also become protective of parents who have addictions. They are used to hiding evidence of their parent’s addictions. In a way, they become the parents of the parent and lose the innocence of childhood.
Children of parents with addiction can find help, as well as avoiding the cycle of becoming addicts themselves. Finding support and learning healthy coping strategies are crucial for helping children deal with their situations. Children should be surrounded by people they can trust. They should be surrounded by people who understand the situation they are in.
New Directions for Women offers treatment to women of all ages and children under the age of thirteen. We are one of few treatment centers that offer this options to women so that, up to a certain age, mothers can go through treatment with their child. No child has to suffer. No mother has to struggle alone. Call us today and one of our caring Admissions Counselors will be happy to answer any of your questions.