A Family Disease: The effects on children of parent(s) who suffer from alcohol use disorder

Anna Deane '23, Contributing Writer

A parent is there to offer love, acceptance, encouragement, and guidance and help their child navigate the world. But what happens when a child is under the care of a parent with alcohol use disorder?

Children of a parent(s) who suffer from alcohol use disorder are often not taught how to handle stressful situations and are not provided with the love and affection a child needs to mature properly. According to the Addiction Center, about 11 million children under the age of 18 have at least one alcoholic parent. With numbers as high as these statistics, many would think that the effects of having an alcoholic parent would be more widely discussed, but unfortunately, that is not the case. 

Children of alcoholics are often taught to believe that their feelings are not valid and that speaking on issues faced is not acceptable, especially issues that discuss the adult’s addiction. So instead, children in these homes are left feeling like they are all alone.

Children of alcoholics can experience a life full of chaos and fear and are constantly on high alert. They have been forced to live life in survival mode. 

Some people may say having an alcoholic parent may have made them more resilient and stronger, but the thing is, no child should have had to be stronger at the time. They should have been able to live their life freely as a child and not have to worry about if their parent would come home safe because they were out drinking all day. 

Many people know alcoholism is a disease, not a choice, but most fail to realize it is a family disease.  If you or someone you know is a child of a parent with alcohol abuse disorder, please consider getting support.  Please see the resources below:



Al-Anon:  https://al-anon.org/

Alateen:  https://al-anon.org/newcomers/teen-corner-alateen/

Adult Children of Alcoholics