Have you ever considered the impact of substance abuse on children? When alcohol or other drugs are abused in a family, often unconsciously, family members create and adjust their own coping strategies. And children are no exception.
Children with a substance-abusing parent are affected by the unhealthy family dynamics in various ways. They may:
- Avoid activities with friends, especially in the family home, out of shame or fear.
- Stay away from the family home because of the unpredictability of the addict.
- Feel deprived of emotional and physical support.
- Develop negative ways of dealing with their own problems and of getting attention from parents and others.
- Feel torn between parents, feeling loyalty toward one and anger toward the other.
- Feel a diminished sense of self-worth as a valued member of the family.
- Experience confusion and a sense of loss of the person they once knew.
- Develop an inability to trust others.
For months and often years, children challenged by substance abuse have been functioning in an unhealthy manner to accommodate the disease.