Alcoholism is a mental disease in which an individual becomes addicted and then dependent on the ingestion of high amounts of alcohol. Alcoholism deteriorates people drastically and can tear families apart. Dealing with an alcoholic parent can be extremely difficult.
Alcoholism does many things to a person. It changes their personality; a once happy-go-lucky person can suddenly become a raging bull under alcoholic influence. Many alcoholics lose their sense of responsibility and often stop caring about their own health and appearance.
Understanding the ins and outs of alcoholism is often beyond most children who live with one or more alcoholic family members. Alcoholism never plateaus and typically does not decrease without assistance. Over time, an individual will develop a tolerance to alcohol like other substances. Once tolerance develops, a greater quantity of alcohol is needed more frequently to achieve the feelings that were experienced at the beginning of addiction. It can lead to serious health risks and deterioration of the quality of the person.
Dealing with alcoholics can be more than any child should need to handle, and this situation puts stress on nearly every aspect of life. Alcoholic parents typically are not attentive parents, and it leads children to fend for themselves. Children of alcoholic parents often wake themselves up for school and get there on their own. Also, they feed themselves and clean themselves and the home; if younger children are involved, the older ones will often need to care for them too.
Alcoholic parents often lose their jobs due to their alcoholic dependence. They may become abusive, neglectful and in the worse scenario, children can be put into foster care. If you are dealing with an alcoholic parent, there are a few things to keep in mind.
The child should know very clearly that their parent’s alcoholism is not their fault. Alcoholism is often the result of childhood trauma or some other form of trauma that has little or nothing to do with the children involved. The next thing that should be known is that there isn’t anything a child can do to fix, erase or undo alcoholism. Children are not the people who should worry about what a parent does or struggle with a mental disease that the parent suffers from. It is the parents’ job or other adults who are involved. It is common for children to feel that the role between who is the parent and who is the child is reversed with an alcoholic parent. It is not at all the way that things should be; however, this is often the case.
A child who has an alcoholic parent may be afraid to reach out for help. They may be afraid that they may be taken from their parents and their home. However, if nothing is done, it will likely be the case. If help is sought out early on, there is a high chance that the parent can get help with their alcoholism before the situation becomes a crisis and a child must be taken from their home. If you know a child who is suffering from an alcoholic parent, planning an intervention or at least presenting rehabilitation and support options is the best way to help both the child and the parent back to a healthy lifestyle.