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Whenever a question arises, like what are the effects on children of alcohol dependent parents, we all have the option to put forward a few answers and to set this topic aside. “Alcoholism is also known as a family disease. Alcoholics may have young, teenage, or grown-up children; they have wives or husbands; they have brothers or sisters; they have parents or other relatives. An alcoholic can totally disrupt family life and cause harmful effects that can last a lifetime” (Tetyana Parsons, 2003). Life is something what we have to pass over moral values and good living examples to the next generations.
Since we all belong to family, we can never ignore the relevance of family life, and in family children are supposed to get the primary consideration and caring. But in an alcoholic’s family, the most affected group will be their children. “Parents who abuse alcohol could cause a negative impact on their children’s lives. Feelings of anger and neglect can follow a child throughout adulthood and have a detrimental effect on his relationships with others” (Bogle, D. 2010).
Dustin Bogle, an experienced fitness instructor, nutritionist and fitness article writer, gives some major problems that occur to alcoholic’s children. Aggressive behavior is one of the first characteristics that a child might develop from having a parent who abuses alcohol. The aggressive behavior of children may lead to academic failure and serious social problems.
As the second one, he mentions warning signs. Children may show warning signs of having an alcoholic parent. They may act out in anger with other children, or might find them lying about things. When scolded, children may become scared of their parents finding out, or they may be causing trouble because they want that extra attention that they are not receiving at home.
The environment that the children are placed in is often unpredictable and chaotic. This is the third point he puts forward. The oldest child in the group is taking care of the other children while the parenting skills are lacking. Other children may become trouble-makers, and some resort to isolation, often becoming shy and unresponsive to other children.
The last observation of Dustin Bogle, probably a crucial one, is the cycle of addiction. It is a very common and dangerous occurrence, and lot many dilemmas are attached with this as well. Criminal acts, teen pregnancy and other mental and emotional issues may arise. The children may become institutionalized in either jail or a rehabilitation center. Children may also be taken out of their home if the alcohol abuse becomes really bad, or they could be put in foster care or end up living on the streets.
Alcoholism is a widespread disease, and it has deep rooted health related issues and severe long lasting consequences. The funniest thing in regards with alcoholism is that still it is being considered as a medium of socialization. The behaviors of parents are the guidelines of their children, and it doesn’t matter whether it is good or bad. Amber Keefer, a famous health related article writer who has more than 25 years of experience in the field, is presenting some very good information in this particular matter. Fear, low self-esteem, self-blame, injury/illness, financial effects, and changes in Family Structure are the effects that she suggests for a review. If we can have a deeper look in to each point, we can see that all these points are very relevant.
Children of parents who abuse alcohol often live in fear, primarily because they are abused or neglected when a parent is under the influence of alcohol. They may witness domestic violence against the other parent, their siblings or even other adults living in the household. Children who are frightened for their own safety may suffer from anxiety, sleep disturbances and depression.
Children often develop low self-esteem when one or both parents abuse alcohol. When parents are more preoccupied with alcohol abuse than their parental roles, a child may not get the sense of security he needs to develop healthy self-esteem.
Children often blame themselves when a parent abuses alcohol. They think that it must somehow be their fault if a parent uses drugs or drinks too much alcohol, and that will result in the loss of their self-reliability.
Children can suffer injuries or health problems as a result of a parent’s alcohol abuse. If a pregnant woman drinks alcohol, the baby can develop long-term health problems. The unsanitary and unsafe situation at home may lead to certain type of illness and injuries.
A family with an alcohol abused parent will definitely have economic consequences, and that family will be forced to live a low income life. Such a situation may develop an inferiority complex in children.
Separations and divorces may happen in such families and those incidents will create even more stress and confusion for children. A child who is being raised in a single parent house hold, may not get proper care or even unable to get better developmental opportunities.
“Patti Kelly” a freelance writer and registered nurse with many years of experience in pediatrics, geriatrics, public health and preventive care have made some serious observations on this topic. She is describing the effects under certain specific classifications; they are: psychological, educational, economical, social and developmental.
Denial, anger, shame, anxiety, hopelessness, self-neglect, shame and isolation are a few of the psychological consequences noted in children of alcohol abused parents, and a sense of security and positive outlook are difficult to establish for such children.
Children of alcohol abused parents are at an increased risk of learning disabilities, poor school attendance, and they are also more likely to be expelled, be institutionalized or drop out of school.
An alcohol abused person is always in a risk of being either unemployed or under-employed and lack of income results in an overall decrease in the family’s standard of living and can lead to difficulty meeting basic needs.
The children of an alcoholic may be ashamed to go out in public, and such shame and fear may also prevent them from having friends over.
Trust and security are being considered as the promoting agents of promote healthy development and a family with alcohol abused parent can never provide such a situation at their home. Physical and sexual abuses are also more common when there is a parent who abuses alcohol, and these factors, may negatively impact a child’s normal development, making children more prone to suicide, anxiety, eating disorders and depression.
As a part of this research, it is very important to note about the treatment side of the alcoholism. As I mentioned earlier, alcoholism is a disease which requires specific treatment, even though there is no medical treatment for that. But alcoholism is a treatable disease and many treatment programs and approaches are available to support alcoholics. Motivation is the major portion in treatment of alcoholics, and other important step is the self-decision. We can categorize the treatment in different steps, they are, commit to stop drinking, set goals and prepare for change, withdrawing from alcohol, find new meaning in life, plan for triggers and cravings, get support and getting started on treatment. Although it is not that easy to achieve, a powerful will and support from others, the goal is so close.
The importance of this research is that what the role of a teacher in this issue is. Since the group I have taken into consideration here are children, and only because of that without any doubt I can say that a teacher can do wonders in this particular issue. Motivation is the better medicine for this and a teacher can do it very easily. Normally, almost all the parents are too much concerned about their children, and a teacher will get lots of opportunities to have detailed observation and discussion with parents. A teacher can include the topic “alcoholism” in their monthly meetings, and they can conduct one on one meeting with parents in which they can collect details of their family. The moral support for the children is the greatest part in this, and the teacher is the best ever person who can provide that.
All the above finding and studies are giving us a clear picture of the consequences that could happen to the children of alcohol abused parents. If we can have quick look, we can see that the alcoholic abuse of parents has strong influence in their children’s future. Psychological, educational, economical, social and developmental issues can be counted as the major problems of the children of alcohol abusing of parents. Even though there is no medication, treatment of alcoholics is very important. Since a teacher has an influential role in a child’s life, a teacher is supposed to pay more attention in giving moral support to children.
For me, preparation of this research paper was an exciting experience. I am sure that the pieces of information that I shared here is just like a drop of water from an ocean. Although I had a chance to do a survey in this subject before, I was quite ignorant about its consequences fully. Most of the information that I gained through this research is really worthy. If we can do a little bit more deep research, definitely there are a lot more issues that we can find. The importance of peer groups and communities in the treatment of an alcoholic is a relevant question that I would like to rise. As the alcoholism is a social disaster, what are the steps that could be taken by the official authorities, in order to have control on this, is the question that I would like to ask. As an ECE student what I can offer is my moral support to the children those who are having this issue, and my effort to educate the society in regards with this dangerous problem.
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