We recently covered some topics related to addiction’s impact on family and family relationships. Addiction, like any other chronic condition, has a lifetime effect on families. This could include your spouse, your parents or siblings, and even less immediate relatives. Drug or alcohol use, and all its behaviors and pitfalls, can also have an overwhelmingly negative impact on the lives of your children— both now and in the future. The impact of addiction on children can manifest in many ways, including the ones listed below:
Addiction Can Leave Children Without Parents
This is undoubtedly the most extreme impact of addiction on children. The Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System notes that more than 85,000 minors ended up in foster care in 2015 related to one or both parents using drugs. In fact, addiction to drugs is the second leading factor in the removal of children from homes; the leading factor is child neglect, which can sometimes involve parental drug or alcohol abuse.
In some cases, parents can reunite with their children following recovery. Still, the temporary sense of loss can be devastating to children. Even more frightening is that continued drug or alcohol use could lead to permanent damage to the family. In fact, children can be permanently removed from their homes if their addicted parents die of an overdose or as a result of risky actions related to use.
Addiction Creates a Chasm in Relationships
One notable impact of addiction on children is the gap that substance abuse creates in parent-child relationships. As a parent, you are probably not fully present in your children’s lives if you are struggling with addiction. You could be missing important events, forgetting things they told you, or ignoring them to address your issues. It’s even possible that you are neglecting them, even if you still provide food, clothing, and shelter. If you’re continually thinking about drugs or alcohol, or constantly coming home drunk or high, there’s a good chance you aren’t attending to the mental, spiritual, and emotional needs of your children.
Addiction Puts Your Child’s Future at Risk
Addiction is a family disease for a reason. Studies have shown that children of addicted parents are more likely to abuse drug or alcohol themselves later in life. Letting addiction get to the point where children can recognize it can send mixed messages. As a result, children who don’t know any other way of living might not even realize the dangers of drugs and alcohol until it’s too late.
In addition, parental addiction can also put children’s future financial stability at risk. Withdrawals and other factors often push parents who struggle with addiction into making decisions they would normally never make. One example is pawning off family heirlooms or other valuable items to pay for their drugs or choice. Even worse, some parents who struggle with addiction may dip into their children’s college savings accounts to support the addiction.
Addiction Puts Your Child’s Faith at Risk
However addiction is impacting your family — and if you are dealing with chemical dependency, it’s certain that your family is suffering too — your children’s faith might be at risk. Parents who are struggling with addiction might be less likely to get involved with church or attend on a regular basis, which means children don’t either. Your actions can also cause discouragement, resentment, and anger in children, all of which can lead to spiritual problems down the road.
Paul talks about the importance of setting good examples and not provoking children in several of his epistles. In Colossians 3:21, he writes, “Fathers, do not provoke your children, lest they become discouraged.” He repeats this message in Ephesians 6:4, saying “Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.” The message isn’t just about drug use, but it does apply: parents should avoid engaging in activities that could set their children on the wrong path. If you’re stuck in such a vicious cycle, seek help for both yourself and your children.
Addiction Recovery for the Entire Family
The Road to Freedom isn’t just for you — it’s for your entire family. The Psalmist said, “Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb.” God has provided people for us to love and cherish, just as he loves and cherishes us.
For someone caught in addiction, one of the best ways to love and cherish your family is to seek help. Often, children want nothing more than having mom or dad healthy and whole again. Letting them see you taking those steps can be a big move in the direction of reconciliation and recovery for everyone. For more information about how you can seek recovery through rehab and involve your children and family in the process, call us today. (844)402-3605.