An alcoholic parent exposes their children to so many related vices. Children have deep love for their parents. I have seen my friends take care of their drunk dads. Young men carrying their fathers to their house, young girls keeping their dads company as he eats his fried eggs the morning after. When sober, most of these parents are model citizens and upstanding folks. They speak well and carry themselves respectfully before their children. However, they morph into a monster after a night out and the cycle continues.
An alcoholic parent makes alcohol their first priority at the cost of their children. This may cause the children to feel unloved, unwanted or uncared for. It may also lead to children resenting their parents’ behavior and in extremes, despise or simply be aloof with their alcoholic parent.
On the most negative extreme, alcoholic parents may be raising an alcoholic too. I have seen fathers drink with their sons so many times, that they see nothing wrong with it. The sons grow up knowing a man drinks and gets drunk till he cannot remember what he did the previous day.
They say girls nowadays drink like their fathers. The rise in alcohol abuse among teens is clear from the many teens we ignore at the mall buying bottles of vodka without identity cards. Or the loud unruly teens during midterm throwing parties and “barbecues”. Or even, most recently publicized, The Project X.
A culture that celebrates alcohol abuse and glorifies partying with alcohol makes it seemingly alright for young boys and girls to indulge in the same destructive behavior. A home that follows suit, adds insult to injury.
Some parents are so invested in this vice that they neglect their responsibility as providers for their children. Fee payments delayed cause their children to stay at home and miss out on their studies. This takes a toll on their studies with them lagging behind their peers. The children may develop a zeal to be better on the up side. A thirst to make good use of their time and make money vowing not to ever touch a drink. Others may develop an anger that causes them to resent their parent and draw their energies from what matters, their studies and emotional well-being.
Fear, shame and anxiety.
Alcoholic parents often show extreme moods. They could be excited or violently enraged. I grew up with children whose parents abused alcohol. Sometimes, during meetings, one of their dads would come to school drunk and his kids would get teased a lot. This kind of behavior, where the child does not know what their parent will do next, causes anxiety. The child does not know what they will walk into once they get home. They also fear humiliation at school. The volatile state their parent gets into when intoxicated is in itself shame, anxiety and fear. All of which are detrimental to a child’s healthy upbringing.
The parents drink and the children suffer
A child may not want to come home to a drunk mum or dad. They therefore make up or create errands to run to kill time. Still, they have to go home. The uncertainty of what they will walk into or even bump into on the way home still lingers. There are dads, even mothers, who drink and fall into a ditch on their way home. Their children have to carry them home and run them a bath. Others may soil their clothes or simply black out on the floor at home. The children have to grow up fast. They start to parent their parents. They also have to parent themselves. Counsel, guidance and reprimand is left to the non-alcoholic parent, if present.
It is paramount that those entrusted with another human being’s upbringing realize that it is a sacred role. Get help, so you can help yourself get better, and help your children be better.
There are so many rehabilitation centers in the country and so much support from those who are recovering alcoholics. The unruly, immature and violent behavior associated with alcohol abuse has severe effects on your children both physically and psychologically.