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Parental drinking and the worry for children

Posted on December 20, 2015

Parental drinking and the worry for children

For most children, Christmas is an exciting and enjoyable time of year. The anticipation of presents and delicious food gives young people something to look forward too. However, for the children of parents with alcohol dependence, Christmas can easily become a time of fear and worry.

In places where parental substance abuse is high, there are more measures than ever in place to help young people deal with the stress of a parent who suffers from alcohol addiction. Charities and rehabilitation helplines are there to combat this ever growing problem and help young people to understand that their parent’s substance abuse is not their fault.

Rather than teaching children to try and help their parents with their alcoholism, these organisations help young people to understand that substance abuse is quite often on the parents and the parents alone. This is an important lesson for young people, as pushing a child to try and talk to their parents can actually worsen the issues at home and cause a child to become reclusive or spend more time on the streets.

Problem drinking in parents often leads to stressful role-reversal relationships, where a child is looking after their parent and not the other way round. Being a teenager is difficult enough at times but when they have the extra burden of looking after a family member at such a young age, this can lead to much deeper trauma and fear.

Equipping a child to better cope with the situation they are in, rather than teaching them to change what is happening themselves, is one of the most effective ways to ensure that the drinking problem does not cause any permanent emotional or physical damage to the child. As many adults do not understand the consequences of their destructive behaviour and may not have even considered the possibility of alcohol rehabilitation and support, young people may find that reasoning with them can be quite difficult.

However, if a young person wants to know more about alcohol rehab and how they can get support for their parent, there are a number of ways they can do this. Before speaking directly to their parent about the possibility of alcohol rehab, young people should be encouraged to speak to another adult that they trust, such as a family member or teacher. This can help them to deal with the issue in a way that will not cause any more emotional stress or conflict.

Whilst most adults can comfortably consume alcohol semi-regularly without it affecting their home life, some cannot and do not know when to stop. Even if a parent only drinks on a rare occasion, it can still cause problems at home if their behaviour becomes unsettling to a child. Sometimes, the alcoholism that affects children most can be irregular and sporadic. This is because it can create more fear, as a child does not know when it is coming or how bad it will be.

There are a number of helplines you can call, such as Childline and Rehab Recovery, if you are suffering from the effects of an alcohol-dependent parent, as well as places to get advice on how to talk to those who might be suffering from an addiction.

Understanding that you are not to blame for other peoples substance misuse is often like being freed from prison and can stop years of unnecessary stress and trauma in its tracks.

Rehab Recovery, is impartial advice and addiction treatment centre with clinics throughout the UK. They have lots of useful information on its website about what you can expect from a rehabilitation programme. Contact us today for advice and support on 0800 088 66 86.

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