How Growing Up With Alcohol Parents Can Affect Children Psychologically

Anxiety sensitivity can be understood as an unspecific or situation specific fear, and desire to relieve, anxiety symptoms. Hopelessness is considered as a tendency for depression, a general negative perspective of life and low regard of self . Adolescents and adults have also reported to be more pessimistic about their future and poor emotional and physical well-being .

  • Anxiety keeps you trapped as whenever you try to move away from the other eight traits, it flares up.
  • The purpose of studying the problems that parental alcohol abuse present for the children is to make the society more aware of these problems and the damage that these could lead to, by affecting the children.
  • Struggle with friendships, intimate relationships, and familial connections because they lack the ability to relate in a healthy manner.
  • They may also feel anger towards the nonalcoholic parent for not stepping in and putting a stop to the drinking altogether.

They may often wonder how bad it will be that day, if the adult will harm themselves or others, if they will be yelled at, etc. If abuse is present as a result of alcoholism, the child may also fear being physically or psychologically abused each day. Holmes JS, Robins LN. The influence of childhood disciplinary experience on the development of alcoholism and depression.


As the daughter of an father, you are likely well aware of the negative consequences of alcoholism. Children of alcoholics often suffer a great deal as a result of their parent’s drinking. If you grew up in an alcoholic home, you may have experienced frequent blowups, neglect, conflict, having to tiptoe around a drunk dad and, in some cases, physical or emotional abuse. Fathers are important figures in a child’s development and growing up with an alcoholic father can impact daughters in childhood and as adults.

When their how alcoholic parents affect their children cannot care for them during active addiction, the child’s survival instincts may kick in, causing them to become prematurely independent. If you’re an adult child of an alcoholic, help is available for you, too – and it can be every bit as life-changing. Support groups like Al-Anon educate you on addiction, how your parent affecting you, and how you can break free and move forward. You’ll build confidence, learn how to better manage stress, become more assertive, and learn how to really live without putting yourself at risk.

Family roles

Alcohol-related expectancies are correlated with parental alcoholism and alcohol abuse among their offspring. Problem-solving discussions in families with an alcoholic parent contained more negative family interactions than in families with non-alcoholic parents. Several factors related to parental alcoholism influence COA substance abuse, including stress, negative affect and decreased parental monitoring.

Alcoholism in family systems refers to the conditions in families that enable alcoholism and the effects of alcoholic behavior by one or more family members on the rest of the family. Mental health professionals are increasingly considering alcoholism and addiction as diseases that flourish in and are enabled by family systems. The child will most likely feel anger at the alcoholic parent for being an alcoholic and putting his or her family through hard times.

How Parental Alcohol Abuse Affects Children

As briefly mentioned earlier, there may be a likelihood for children of alcoholics to develop alcohol addiction themselves. There are some genes that can influence the risk, and there is strong evidence that alcohol addiction can run in families. According to the University of Rochester Medical Center, people with an alcoholic parent are about four times as likely to struggle with alcohol, and numerous other studies support this theory. The emotional trauma of living with an alcoholic can include issues like abuse and neglect. Your parents’ substance abuse hinders their ability to be a trusted, stable figure in your life. Research shows that if you experienced trauma from a parent with addiction, you’re more likely to develop a substance use disorder and have poorer emotional, social, intellectual, and physical outcomes.

levels of parental

These issues can take root physically or psychologically, and consequences can last through adulthood. In some cases, children of alcoholics even develop substance abuse issues themselves. Adolescence brings with it many biological, psychological, and social changes. Parents continue to play an important role in their children’s development during this time. Parental problem drinking can adversely affect adolescent development and adjustment by interfering with parenting skills and marital relations.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy – Basic Principles and Application Areas [Working Title]

“Many people with AUD are unable to have healthy conflict, especially when under the influence of alcohol,” says White. If this was the case with your parent, you may have learned to pay attention to small, subtle signs at a young age. Never entirely sure how they’d act or react, you might have found yourself constantly on high alert, ready to respond accordingly and protect yourself. Knowing you couldn’t count on your caregiver for emotional support could also diminish your sense of self-esteem, according to Amanda E. White, licensed professional counselor and founder of the Therapy for Women Center. These feelings can affect your personal sense of self-esteem and self-worth. Growing up with a parent who has AUD can create an environment of unpredictability, fear, confusion, and distress, says Peifer.

  • As a child, it can be quite frightening when a parent becomes angry out of nowhere.
  • Gaines LS, Brooks PH, Maisto S, Dietrich M, Shagena M. The development of children’s knowledge of alcohol and the role of drinking.
  • You’ll build confidence, learn how to better manage stress, become more assertive, and learn how to really live without putting yourself at risk.
  • If your parent with AUD is willing to attend therapy with you, family therapy can often help rebuild trust and pave the way toward healing.
  • Children of alcoholic parents often go without having their basic care and emotional needs met by their parents, something that is critical in developing secure attachments.
  • Many kids do not have a stable home and are forced to see their parents and loved ones struggle with drinking .
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