Abused children are often made aware of alcohol from a young age
Some people think children become aware of alcohol around the time they become an adult and have their first drink.
Or, maybe when they see extended family have an occasional drink at a big family event.
For other children, the sad truth is that they are aware of alcohol and alcoholism at home.
Some children have experienced first-hand trauma related to seeing their parents or guardians drink high amounts of alcohol at home.
Seeing someone continuously drink alcohol to the extent they become violent, aggressive and no longer recognisable is a trauma many children live with.
Some children sadly follow the same pattern of alcoholism that they were exposed to growing up.
Why do abused children become alcoholics?
People who experienced abuse as a child and have turned to drink to cope only did it because they did not have the right tools to deal with the trauma they experienced. Many have gotten better through alcohol rehab.
45% of people struggling with alcohol admitted they saw their parents abusing alcohol when they were growing up.
This in turn caused them to use alcohol as a way to cope with issues related to their personal life and to cope with childhood issues that they never recovered from.
Read more about the impact of trauma here.
Alcohol is only a temporary solution that can become a long-term pattern.
It is important for them to break the cycle of addiction that began with their parents.
Alcoholism and child abuse
The facts related to abused children and alcoholism show a strong link between those who experienced abuse as a child and those who developed an alcohol addiction.
A parent’s alcohol abuse can impact their children in different ways:
- Higher risk of neglect and physical/mental abuse
- Experiencing problems related to their behaviour
- Having a responsibility to take care of themselves and their siblings
- Poor school attendance and grades
- Living in poverty
- Being exposed to potential criminals
- Risk of being separated from parents – put in social housing or living with other family members
If you believe a child is being abused, please contact the NSPCC for more information on how to help.
Read about our post about sending a spouse to residential rehab for their drinking problem.