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In the Eyes of a Child: How Children Suffer from Alcohol Abuse

“My drinking problem isn’t hurting anyone but myself” is the usual statement you’d hear from most alcoholics. Unfortunately, what they say isn’t entirely the truth. Alcoholism extends beyond the addict and affects everyone around that person. In fact, the most vulnerable persons affected by this problem are the children.

Children can suffer from long-term psychological and emotional reactions if they grow up with an alcoholic parent. In her book, Dr. Janet G. Woititz explained the behaviours of those who grew up under the wing of an alcoholic. She described these children as those who carry emotional and psychological pain throughout their lives. Other studies from experts also showed the same negative effects that alcoholic parents cause to their children.


Anxiety stems from constantly worrying about the situation at home. Children of alcoholics often live in fear of finding their addict parent sick or hurt. In some cases, this anxiety comes from fear of witnessing fights or violence between parents because of the drinking problem. Due to this constant anxiety, children find it hard to have fun with others.


Some children often feel they are at fault for their parent’s drinking problem, which, in turn, causes them to seek approval from others. According to Dr. Woititz, children of alcoholics become too eager to please everybody and are often afraid of facing criticism. In some cases, guilt causes the child to feel depressed and helpless to change the situation.


Some children try to hide their parent’s drinking problem to others due to embarrassment. Children of alcoholics don’t invite friends over at home or ask others for help. This also causes them to shy away from crowds at school in fear of others learning of their situation at home. This, in turn, makes it hard for them to form relationships.


Children of alcoholics may grow up with feelings of distrust and resentment with both parents. They feel anger towards the addict parent for causing problems in the family, while feeling bitterness to the non-alcoholic parent for doing nothing to change the situation. The worst of these is they may carry this anger throughout their lives.

Alcohol abuse has ruined too many holidays and family get-togethers, but it’s never too late to stop and change the problem. Our centre is always ready to help families get back on their feet and mend broken relationships ruined by alcoholism. Call us for more information on how we can help with the problem.

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