How Does an Alcoholic Parent Affect Child’s Development

How Does an Alcoholic Parent Affect Child's Development

A child to be around an alcoholic parent on day to day basis can be distressing. If you think it may not be affecting anyone, we would like to tell you that it does and it especially affects young children. The sad part is that sometimes growing up with an alcoholic parent can leave such scars on a child’s mind and heart that it becomes very difficult for the child to get over it. It may also impact the child’s behaviour, development, relationships and various other aspects of his life. Does it sound scary? Well, alcoholism is a demon that can adversely affect the development of a child, read this post to know how!

Effects of Alcoholic Parents on Child Development

Being with an alcoholic parent has an ongoing effect on a child’s life; here we shall be discussing how childhood development gets affected because of parental alcoholism:

1. Kids May Not Know What Normal Is

Children, who are raised in homes where there are no harmonious or healthy family relations, may find it difficult to comprehend normal relationships. They may not have good role models or examples to emulate and thus they may struggle to be comfortable around other families and may not know how to act in various situations. In other words, children may not know how normal people behave or act and for them being in an abusive life may be normal.

2. The Child May Feel Guilty

It is very easy for a child to assume that his parent may be exhibiting this kind of behaviour because of his mistakes or something that he didn’t do properly. This may not be true, but a child’s gentle mind can make all kinds of weird assumptions. It is often seen that a child tends to blame himself for his parents’ problems and the guilt may become worse as the child grows.

3. The Child May Become Anxious

Being around an alcoholic parent can be disturbing for a child because there may be an exhibition of strange behaviour, loud noises, fights etc. which may become too burdensome for the child. All these behavioural traits may cause agitation and anxiety in a child’s mind.

4. The Child May Have Trust Issues

Staying in the same house with alcoholics can be very difficult for other adults; on the other hand, a child’s psyche can get severely damaged. There may be trust issues, lying, deceit, broken promises and other such issues that may make it difficult for a child to trust easily. This may get carried forward as the child grows and he may find it difficulty in trusting people.

5. The Child May Feel Embarrassment

It is often seen that children of alcoholic parents are very secretive about their lives. They do not like to discuss their parents or their family with their friends. Most kids are ashamed of their parents and their lifestyle and do not want their friends to know about it. Also, sometimes parents may behave intoxicated in public or in front of their kid’s friends, which may make their kid very embarrassed.

6. The Child May Have Low Self-Esteem

Children who come from such households often find it difficult to know their true potential. They may be too harsh of themselves and may see themselves as worthless or incapable of doing things which other kids can do with ease. They may also feel that they are different from other children or they may feel they are not good enough. They may stay isolated and also may find it difficult to make friends.

7. The Child May Be Confused

The child may become very confused because they may not know what is expected of him or what he should expect his parent to be like. Alcoholics suffer from mood swings and temper tantrums, sometimes they may be all happy and lovey-dovey, and on other times they become all nasty and loud. A child may not understand the importance of following a routine, which is a very important aspect during the growing up years.

8. The Child May Have Anger Issues

The child of an alcoholic parent may sometimes have anger issues. This anger may not come out in the open and may remain deep-rooted. This deep-rooted anger may start affecting a child in more than one ways, and it may start affecting his performance in school, his friendships or his other dealings.

9. The Child May Have a Fear of Abandonment

It is very normal for a child to become lonely because his parent may not be available to meet his physical and emotional needs. Such children may have deep down fear that their parents may leave them or abandon them. Sometimes in order to get over the feeling of loneliness, the child may get into toxic relationships in life at later stages.

10. The Child May Feel Depressed

Isolation and loneliness may make the child depressed. Seeing the day to day scenarios at home may be too much for a little mind to handle. Even in situations where the child has a sibling, he may isolate himself and hide his emotions and feelings. All this can make him utterly depressed and in extreme cases may even evoke suicidal thoughts.

The above-mentioned issues are some of the issues that a child may experience when raised in an alcoholic home. If you or your partner is a raging alcoholic, we suggest that you should see a professional who deals with parental alcoholism and child psychopathology.

How Does Living with an Alcoholic Parent Affect the Child’s Adulthood?

A child who lives with an alcoholic parent can have long-term effects on his present as well as future life. Sometimes, even when the child may no longer be dependent on his parents for physical or emotional support, the experiences of childhood may haunt the child’s memories, and it may affect the child’s life. Here are some ways alcoholism may affect a child’s adulthood too:

1. Substance Abuse Issues

A child, who is nurtured in a home where one or both parents may be alcoholics, may find recluse in substance abuse himself as he grows. This is because for him it is an acceptable thing because he has seen his parents do it without any guilt or hesitation. It is seen that a child who grows up in such surroundings is four times more likely to opt for various methods of substance abuse in comparison to a child who grew up in a normal household.

2. Problems in Relationships

It is very normal for a child who grew up in abusive surroundings to be wary of forming meaningful or long-lasting relationships. This is because the child may have undergone negative emotions, which may make him think that most people may behave in a similar way and thus he may be hesitant to be in any meaningful relationships.

3. Behavioural Issues

Children of alcoholic parents may experience behavioural issues. They may be more impulsive or emotionally driven and may act in various situations without putting much thought into it. Such children may sometimes become very aggressive or violent too.

When a child has to deal with an alcoholic parent, his whole life may turn into a battle, which the child may be required to fight on an everyday basis. However, it is important to understand that the child needs help to cope up with this kind of situation. We suggest that professional guidance should be sought at the earliest.

Also Read: What is the Role of Your Family in Development of Your Child