Children of addicts suffer greatly because of their parents’ behaviour. They may be prone to bad behaviour themselves or they may become isolated and withdrawn as they struggle to deal with their addicted parent’s actions.

Unfortunately, many adults assume that children, especially younger children, are unaware of the situation occurring in their home and so do not take the kids’ feelings into consideration. However, children are typically more aware of what is going on than they are given credit for. Even if one parent’s addiction is not something that is spoken of in front of the kids, they will hear the whispered comments and will see the knowing looks from others. Older children may be embarrassed or ashamed of their parent’s behaviour and will try to hide it from their friends.

This may lead them to avoid becoming close to anyone for fear they may have to invite them home. Children of addicted parents are often isolated and socially withdrawn.

The Effect of Addiction on Children

Younger children of addicted parents may be neglected, which can lead to them being targeted by bullies at school. If they have no one at home to look after them, they may be going to school looking unkempt and unwashed. This may result in other kids not wanting to spend time with them, which can cause hurt and embarrassment to the child.

The children may then feel angry or ashamed of their parents and this is then often accompanied by feelings of guilt. Children may feel upset with themselves for feeling ashamed of their mum or dad.

No Support for the Children of Addicts

Kids of addicted parents are not getting enough support in the UK, according to a new report. And MP Liam Byrne, who grew up with an alcoholic father, has said that the Government needs to do more to ‘break the cycle of alcoholism’ in order to stop it being passed from parent to child.

Statistics from the National Association of Children of Alcoholics have revealed that there are around 2.6 million children in the UK living with a problem drinker. Studies have shown that living with an addicted parent makes children at greater risk of developing addictions themselves as they get older. These children are also three times more likely to consider suicide.

Mr Byrne is now working with a number of other senior MPs to ensure that children of addicts get the support they need. After querying a number of local authorities in England, he found that none of them have a plan in place to deal with children of addicted parents. The MP said, “Not a single part of the country actually has a plan in place to help them. They are Britain’s innocent victims of booze and they’re being left to suffer alone.”

Inconsistent Lives

Children of alcoholic and drug addicted parents often face inconsistency and uncertainty in their lives. They never know what kind of mood their addicted parent will be in and they may become victims of abuse, both verbally and physically.

Tension in the home can be intense and children may be afraid of how their addicted parent will react if they do anything. This inevitably leads to kids being withdrawn. Children are often left feeling confused and may even blame themselves. They believe that it is their fault that mum or dad act the way they do and, with no outside support, this is something that can affect them for the rest of their lives. They may find it difficult to form healthy relationships with others and they might go on to develop mental health problems such as depression or anxiety disorder in later life. And, as previously mentioned, they are at risk of developing addictions themselves.