There are many correlations between adult alcoholism and the effects it has on early childhood development in children. Currently, one out of four children are living in an alcoholic environment and will be negatively impacted throughout their upbringing. These children are approximately four times more likely to develop issues with drinking and drug use in their lifetime compared to other children who have not been exposed to parents or parental figures with alcoholic tendencies.
By exposing a child to the dysfunction that is caused by alcoholism, you are exposing a child to extreme danger and setting the foundation for the child to mimic unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaviors. Chaos, irrational thinking and beliefs, denial, instability, unhealthy attachments, co-dependency, and unhealthy living environments are all small pieces that work together to build an unsteady foundation for a child. According to Nadine Burk Harris, “There is a direct correlation between childhood trauma and stress to mental illnesses and addiction in adulthood.” If, for example, the child is not exposed to therapy or other healthy life coping skills, the child may experience symptoms of bipolar, eating disorders, self-harm, high-risk behaviors, depression and even turn to drugs or alcohol to manage life. Children that are exposed to this kind of upbringing tend to believe that they themselves are the cause of their parent’s drinking often leading to rejection of self and self-hatred. Adults may not be in the position to realize that they may benefit from alcohol treatment in Florida, but children reading this article should know that it’s an option available to them.
Children who struggle with a lack of strong parenting tend to take on their parent’s role and become the caretaker of the parent. By exposing a child to this role, it is likely to see some form of rebellion in teenage years and avoidance of their own self-care. These individuals become comfortable living with secrets, have a lack of resilient interpersonal relationships and even isolation will become comfortable. The child becomes so used to broken promises, missed activities, and disappointment that they will send the unspoken message that people can’t be trusted and giving up is an option. Children learn what they live and will mimic the behaviors until the cycle is broken. Parents should be the main caregivers for children and provide a healthy, stable, and safe learning environment for children. Without this protection and security, it is likely that the child will revert and develop a sense of anxiety or fear of the world.
Alcoholism doesn’t just affect the alcoholic; it affects the entire family and the outcomes of their lives as well. Some damage may be irreversible if the proper help is not introduced in time. Alcoholism can be life-or-death and it is a race against the clock to change the internal programming. Most children of alcoholics, if lucky, can attend support groups and or ACOA (Adult Children of Alcoholic) meetings. In these meetings held at alcohol treatment centers, the individual will learn healthy life skills and healthy patterns of thinking that they did not learn when growing up and identify beliefs that can be processed in terms of their family system.
They will receive love and support until they can learn to do so on their own. If your loved one is struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction, there is a way to receive the necessary help. Going to a drug or alcohol rehab center can help with stabilizing the parent and allowing them the time to work on themselves so they can resume their standing in the home and vital place in society. Oftentimes, heavy drinking goes un-noticed for a long period of time due to the easy access of the substance and the normalizing of consuming it. However, the impact of extreme drinking and alcoholism on children is profound. The good news is that with proper alcohol treatment in Florida, there is a way to work through the cycle and stop the pain caused by addiction.