Growing up in a household where one or more of the child’s parents are addicted to drugs or alcohol is tough. However, it isn’t just these common addictions that can cause trouble for kids. Northeast Addictions Treatment Center adds, “Addiction is a difficult situation to break whether it’s alcoholism, drug addiction, gambling, shopping, or unhealthy relationship habits.”
With an expanded idea of what addiction can be, it’s more important than ever to understand how it affects the children in your life. By understanding these points, you are likely to be more driven to solve the problem for yourself or a loved one.
Caretaker Rolls Can Be Switched
In households where one or more of the parents have an addiction, roles are likely to be reversed. It isn’t uncommon for even very young children to take on responsibilities like doing the laundry, cooking dinner, and picking up the living room.
That isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if very weighty responsibilities, like taking care of younger siblings, becomes the norm, it can affect development. Children need the time to behave according to their developmental level without worrying about the world of adults.
Decrease in Financial Stability
When someone is addicted to a substance, a good chunk of their income is likely to go toward procuring more of that substance. It isn’t uncommon for families to end up living in less-than-ideal circumstances when one or more of the parents has an addiction.
A decrease in financial stability can be an issue even if the addiction doesn’t seem that bad on the surface. For example, if a parent spends more time on Facebook at work than they do on their work responsibilities, they may be fired, which in turn will bring financial woes down on the entire family.
Modeling Negative Behavior
As a parent, it’s important to model good behavior. That means:
- Eating healthy food
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining healthy relationships
- Dealing with stress in a positive way
- Being safe, like always wearing a seat belt
Every parent does the best they can. No parent is perfect, but an addict models negative behaviors that the kids will pick up on. Prolonged modeling of this behavior can have disastrous consequences. It isn’t uncommon for kids to end up addicts themselves when they’ve grown up around one.
Decreased Life Satisfaction and Stability
Growing up in an addicted household is hard. It can make life downright miserable.
Many children dread going home at the end of the school day because they never know what they will be walking into. They can become emotionally detached from their addicted parent, and because they never know what to expect, it isn’t uncommon for kids raised in addicted households to act out in school.
Unfortunately, it isn’t uncommon for depression and anxiety to become the norm in these households. Even more unfortunately, because the head of the household is an addict, they aren’t likely to seek help for themselves or their children, which will only make a bad situation even worse.
Having an addicted parent can be extremely embarrassing to even very young children, so they are unlikely to invite friends over to play. That in turn can decrease the likelihood of peers asking them to come over and play at their house.
Young children who depend on their parents to take them places can become especially isolated. The parent isn’t likely to drop them off at a friend’s house or sign them up for extra curricular activities.
Loss of the Relationship
Not only do you have to think about how an addiction can affect the relationship you have with your children when they’re young, you also have to think about how it will affect your relationship when they become adults.
Many children follow the path that their parent or parents modeled, which means they’re more likely to isolate themselves and rarely, if ever, spend time with or talk to their parents when they grow up.
In contrast, children who manage to escape the cycle of addiction will grow up and realize that they have to stop enabling their parents. Unfortunately, that often means severing the relationship. It isn’t uncommon for addicted parents and their children to become estranged later in life.
Knowing how an addiction can affect the kids may be just the push you need to get help for yourself or a loved one. Get the help you need for you or someone else and the kids will never have to worry about suffering from any of the items on this list.