5 Ways Your Alcoholism Will Affect Your Children as Adults
If you do nothing, these fates are likely for your kids:
- Children of alcoholics become alcoholics. It is very clear from numerous studies that children of alcoholics are at a much greater risk of developing their own drinking problems as adults. It isn’t inevitable, but having an alcoholic parent is the biggest risk factor for alcoholism. Was someone in your family an alcoholic when you were growing up? Addiction is often a cycle that passes through the generations of a family. You can be the one to stop it and to give your children a chance at a better future.
- Children of alcoholics struggle with relationships. You haven’t provided your kids with the best model for a relationship. Your alcoholism has probably caused so much chaos and dysfunction that you have no good relationships yourself. When your kids grow up, they are likely to be loyal to people who don’t deserve it, to accept behaviors and treatment that should be unacceptable and to seek out codependent relationships.
- Children of alcoholics feel different. This begins early. Your children are likely embarrassed by your behaviors and don’t want to have friends over to the house. They don’t want to share anything about their home lives. They worry that they won’t fit in, when, in reality, many other kids are in the same situation. Even children of parents with different issues have a lot in common, including the fact that they feel no one will understand them. This feeling often continues into adulthood.
- Children of alcoholics are impulsive. A common personality trait of the adult children of alcoholics is impulsivity. This means that your children may grow up to seek sensations, to be aggressive and to take risks that are inappropriate. Impulsivity is associated with risky sexual behaviors and substance abuse.
- Children of alcoholics don’t know how to have fun. Even if your children manage to avoid many of the more serious consequences of having an alcoholic parent, they are likely to find barriers to having enjoyable, fun adulthoods. It starts when your child experiences the fear and anger when you are drunk yet again. Your children have to step up to the plate and take on responsibilities that you should be taking care of, just to be sure that they get to school on time or that younger siblings get dinner or take a bath. As a result, as adults they will be unable to relax and enjoy themselves the way other people do.
These common traits of adult children of alcoholics are not inevitable, but you have put your kids at risk for them. By doing something now, you can prevent this future and help provide your children with a brighter future and a positive role model.