Discover resources for helping children of parents addicted to drugs and alcohol.
Children are often the indirect victims of substance abuse. When a parent is addicted to drugs or alcohol, addiction can take precedence over parenting. This is a time of distress for kids, regardless of age. Learn how kids of addicted parents can get help.
Know the facts
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reports that as many as one in four children is exposed to family alcohol abuse or dependence. This is a huge number of kids. Try to be aware that issues like this could be affecting children in your life, and could be at the root of emotional or behavioral issues. With awareness of the effects of substance abuse and dependence growing, pediatricians, teachers and caregivers are becoming more aware of the signs that a child is being exposed to addiction at home.
Help kids find support
If you or a child you know is affected by substance abuse, don’t hesitate to seek help. Children must know that they don’t have to feel guilty for admitting that a parent or caregiver has a problem with addiction. Reassurance is crucial, since kids may feel like acknowledging a problem is a betrayal. Here are some resources that can help kids:
- Encourage children to talk. Give them safe spaces to vent and express fears or anger.
- Provide children with any basic needs that may be ignored while a parent struggles with addiction.
- Introduce children and teens to Alateen and Al-Anon Family Groups for support through meetings.
- Seek further resources at the National Association for Children of Alcoholics.
Lastly, remember that children of alcoholics are not always under 18. If you are an adult child of an alcoholic, don’t hesitate to seek support in any way that you’re comfortable with.