Addiction affects not only the person with the illness but also everyone who lives with them. One of the most devastating consequences of addiction is the effect it has on children. Living with a parent who is suffering from addiction is both stressful and upsetting. Some children are so young that they just do not understand what is going on while others are old enough to know and will try to hide their family situation from their school friends.
In some situations, addicts can be violent and aggressive, and children may be living in fear. Many kids may suffer from anxiety and loneliness while some will be neglected. The sad truth is that there are many children living like this all across the UK.
Why Do Some People Become Addicts
Children may often find it difficult to understand why their parent acts the way he or she does, especially if said children have been to friends’ houses where addiction is not an issue. Young children with no comprehension of what addiction means may find it even harder to understand why their parent behaves in this way. Living with an addicted parent is scary and can severely affect children.
The truth is that there is no single reason individuals become addicted to certain substances or behaviours. For some, it can be triggered by a traumatic event such as the death of a loved one or the breakdown of a relationship. Others may be predisposed to addiction while yet others may be using a substance or activity to self-medicate when they cannot deal with the pressures of life.
How Parental Addiction Affects a Child
Children who live with addicted parents suffer from emotional and, often, physical problems. If they are old enough to understand the situation, they may feel shame and embarrassment and they may be forced to lie to their friends to hide their parent’s addiction. They may be left out of sleepovers or parties because they are unable to reciprocate.
This can lead to depression and other mental health issues, and many children of addicts will go on to use certain substances themselves in a bid to make themselves feel better. It is not uncommon for children of addicts to suffer the same fate themselves in later life.
Anger is another emotion that frequently affects kids with an addicted parent. The children are upset and angry with the parent that is causing so much distress to the family home. They cannot understand why this person is unprepared to do anything to rectify the situation.
Children of addicted parents are often neglected, and personal hygiene is affected. This can lead to bullying in school and, as a result, the child may become withdrawn. These children will often perform badly in school because they will not want to draw any attention to themselves and because they are not getting any help at home.
Getting Help for Addiction
An addicted parent cannot be forced to get help, and many will be living in denial. No matter how bad the situation is at home, they may not feel as though their actions are to blame. It can be difficult for children to cope with an addicted parent who refuses to accept that they need help.
Children often blame themselves and think that there must be something wrong with them for their mum or dad to be acting this way.
If you are living with an addicted parent, then you can seek advice from Rehab Helper’s experienced counsellors. We can offer you support and advice on how to deal with your situation and provide you with information on how and where your parent can get help. Contact us today for more information.