When someone talks about living with an alcoholic parent, you immediately come up with a mental image that is disturbing and very alarming. Parents are supposed to be strong, loving, and caring individuals, not drunks. The sad reality is that a lot of children live with a parent who is an alcoholic or someone who drinks too much.
What starts as a bad habit can spiral into something worse. For instance, a parent may drink to cope with problems, such as stress, financial problems, or marital disagreements. No matter what other people say, an individual does not become an alcoholic because of someone else’s behavior. With that said, the children who lives with an alcoholic parent must not blame themselves.
Problem Drinker Or Social Drinker?
It is only normal for some parents to want to have a glass of wine, alcohol, or beer. This doesn’t automatically make them an alcoholic. As long as they are in control and they can stop after one or two glasses, then it is not a problem. In addition, if they only drink in social situations or at certain times, such as dinner then children have nothing to worry about.
Unfortunately, when children and other family members start to notice that the individual starts drinking so much that it changes his or her behavior and makes them unpredictable and aggressive, it becomes a problem. Alcohol addiction is a disease that needs to be treated. Without the help of a professional, an alcoholic will continue to drink and may become worse over time. There are a lot of dangers associated with living with an alcoholic parent. Here are a few of them.
Neglect: Children are the ones who suffer most. Most children of alcoholics try to act like adults since they need to take care of themselves and other family members. In the process, they lose their childhood. Parents who are addicted to alcohol are unable to care for their children since they are more concerned with their alcohol intake. They will be unable to perform their parental duties and responsibilities, such as:
- Missing appointments and being absent from work
- Inability to participate in their child’s school activities
- Forgetting to pick their children up from school or other activities.
- Unable to care for them or nourish them.
Vehicular Accidents: Lliving with an alcoholic parent who drinks and drives can put children at a higher risk of being in a vehicular accident. Alcoholic individuals are a danger to other people on the road- be it other drivers, passengers, or pedestrians. If a drunk parent choose to drink and drive with a child onboard, they will put their children in harm’s way as well. In addition, they might also face serious legal charges once they are caught.
Premature Death: Alcohol can affect a person’s health; thus alcoholics are more at risk of suffering from serious health conditions and are more likely to suffer from premature death. If an alcoholic parent dies, it impacts the entire family- especially the children. Caring for the children will fall on the shoulders of the surviving parent, who might be unable to deal with the situation alone. In fact, children might be taken in by relatives or they might go into foster care.
Abuse: Alcohol also affects a person’s behavior and actions. This means that some alcoholics are more aggressive and they are susceptible to have mood swings. With that said, alcoholic parents are more likely to physically and emotionally abuse their children. In worse cases, they may even sexually abuse their child.
These are some of the dangers of living with an alcoholic parent. Family members of alcoholics must understand that this addiction is a disease, and it needs to be treated. If an alcoholic refuses professional help, he or she will continue to drink and the addiction may become worse. Families must be able to immediately address this problem to avoid detrimental consequences.
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The author, Kris Lim, is a family counselor who aims to raise awareness about alcoholism and how it affects families. She also advises her clients to look for a credible lawyer at Suhre Law & Associates if they are in need of legal help.