Most people view their issues with addiction as something that only affects them. They may not realize the addiction’s far-reaching effects on those around them, especially their children.
Probably, it’s because addiction makes one self-centered or stay in denial. Understand how addiction affects children to get the help you need to protect your kids and yourself. What happens when children grow up in a home with addiction?
They Might Become Addicts
Normalizing drug use at home can convince a child that drug abuse is no big deal. As a result, they’re more likely to experiment with drugs and develop an addiction themselves. According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, as many as one in four children of alcoholics will become addicted to alcohol or drugs at some point in their lives.
Another reason the children turn to drugs is to cope with the pain, trauma, and stress of having an addicted parent. They may feel they need drugs to numb their feelings or escape reality. When you discover a child is using drugs, get help immediately. Reach out to establishments such as https://teenchallenge.tc/. The sooner they receive treatment, the better their chances are of recovery.
They Might Suffer From Emotional Problems
Children of addicts often have trouble expressing their emotions. They may feel ashamed, embarrassed, or guilty about their parent’s addiction. As a result, they bottle up their feelings, leading to emotional problems later in life. These children have difficulty trusting people and may have trouble forming intimate relationships.
They might also suffer from anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder. If you notice your child withdrawing, losing interest in activities they used to enjoy, or having trouble at school, they might be struggling with emotional issues. Talk to your child about their feelings and help them find a therapist or counselor to talk to if necessary.
Image Credit Pexels
They Might Face Financial Hardships
Addiction can lead to financial problems for the whole family. An addicted parent might spend all their money on drugs or alcohol, leaving the family struggling to make ends meet. The family might have to move from home or go without food or other necessities.
As a result, the children grow up too fast and take on responsibilities they’re not ready for. If your family is facing financial hardship, talk to your child about what’s happening. Let them know it’s not their fault and help them find ways to cope. Don’t let them feel ashamed or embarrassed.
They Might Experience Abuse or Neglect
Unfortunately, children of addicts are more likely to suffer from abuse or neglect. An addicted parent might be too wrapped up in their addiction to care for their child correctly. They might forget to feed them, bathe them, or take them to the doctor. They might also become verbally or physically abusive when under drugs or alcohol.
Abuse can also be emotional. Not spending time with a child, constantly putting them down, or favoring one child over another is emotionally abusive. If you think your child is being abused or neglected, get help immediately. Contact the police or child protective services. You might also need to find a safe place for your child to stay until you resolve the situation.
They Might Struggle in School
Having an addicted parent makes it difficult for a child to succeed in school. They miss many days or have trouble paying attention in class. As a result, their grades suffer. They might also struggle with social skills and have difficulty making friends.
The shame, financial struggles and emotional problems associated with having an addicted parent make it difficult for a child to succeed in school. Talk to the teacher or guidance counselor if you notice your child is struggling. They’ll develop a plan to get your child back on track.
They Might Have Behavioral Issues
Growing up in an unstable home can lead to behavioral problems in children. They act out in school or get into fights with other kids. They’ll have trouble following rules or respecting authority figures.
They might also engage in risky behaviors like drinking or using drugs. Some could steal to get the high that comes with using drugs. Talk to their doctor or a therapist if your child is demonstrating behavioral problems.
They Have Low Self-esteem
Low self-esteem is the lack of self-respect and self-worth. It’s caused by the shame and guilt children of addicts experience. They feel like they’re to blame for their parent’s addiction or they’re not good enough. As a result, they have trouble believing in themselves.
These children find it hard to stand up for themselves or assert their needs. If you notice your child has low self-esteem, talk to them. Help them understand it’s not their fault and that they’re not to blame for their parent’s addiction.
Preventing Addiction in Families
If you have an addiction, get help. The sooner you get treatment, the better. It will take time and effort, but it’s worth it. Not only will you be getting healthy, but you’ll also set an excellent example for your children.
In addition, take steps to ensure your home is safe and stable for your children. Get rid of any drugs or alcohol in the house. If you have firearms, ensure they’re properly stored and inaccessible to children.
It’s also important to talk to your children about addiction. Teach them about the dangers of drugs and alcohol. Help them understand that addiction is a disease and not something to be ashamed of. Let them know they can come to you with any questions or concerns.
Get Help for Your Child
If you think your child might be using drugs or alcohol, don’t wait to get help. The sooner you intervene, the better. Most importantly, forge a strong relationship with your child. Show them you love and support them, no matter what. Understand the struggles they’re facing and offer help and guidance.