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Alcoholism in the Family:
How Do Drinking Parents Affect the Child?

Parents who drink alcohol are often irresponsible, infirm, and prone to denial of their own flaws. They blame others for their troubles and don't know how to sympathize and empathize. Thus, children growing up with such families don’t receive attention, care, support, and love.

It is obvious that all this inevitably affects the formation of the child's personality. Being in such a family, the baby is faced with a complex of traumatic experiences that will be reflected in future life. A kid initially forms incorrect attitudes, which he or she will subsequently adhere to.

Let's study this issue in more depth.

How does a child's psyche change?

Alcoholism in the Family
  1. Difficulties in social adaptation

The basic patterns of behavior are laid down in the family. With the unhealthy atmosphere in it, the child doesn’t have the opportunity to learn to communicate and behave correctly in society. When he or she gets into a children's team in preschool or school institutions, this becomes a problem. Such children can avoid any contact, become sociopaths.

In other cases, they behave aggressively and may commit antisocial acts. The problem is aggravated by the fact that the child doesn’t know how to sympathize, empathize.

  1. Mental development slows down

Parents don’t participate in the formation of the kid’s personality. A child grows up left to himself, often even elementary needs are not satisfied.

  1. Deficit of communication

If both parents or one of them suffers from alcohol dependence, the child is not getting enough communication. At an early age, this is a deficiency of tactile, emotional, speech contact, which can cause isolation and developmental disorders.

  1. Neurotic disorders

They appear due to an unstable, tense environment in the house. It increases the level of anxiety, provokes the appearance of fears, and promotes the development of neurosis, which can be accompanied by sleep disturbances, nightmares, problems with falling asleep, passivity and indifference to the environment, enuresis, problems with behavior and learning.

How alcoholism in a family will affect a child is determined by many factors, including whether only the mother or father is drinking, or whether the addiction is familial.

The influence of the drinking father on the child

Alcoholism in the Family

A father with an alcohol dependence minimizes the chances that the child will develop the correct male behavior in the family. Subsequently, the son will show infantilism, and the daughter will either despise men or constantly choose drinking men who will treat her as disrespectfully as the father does to the mother.

The child faces some complexes:

  • sees love even in pity;
  • takes a great fancy to people;
  • emotionally reacts to situations in which he or she cannot change anything;
  • cannot think systematically, there are difficulties with planning cases;
  • lies easily;
  • avoids authoritarian people, doesn’t like criticism;
  • waiting for an instant result, which is why he or she cannot do something for a long time;
  • unable to work effectively in a team;
  • constantly waiting for approval.

The influence of a drinking mother on a child

Alcoholism in the Family

Many problems in children who were brought up by addicted mothers arose due to the toxic effects on their bodies even in the embryo phase. Thus, they get a significant failure in the development of the nervous system.

The child's complexes with a drinking mother:

  • unable to show love;
  • sees the source of any problem only in himself;
  • underestimates own capabilities;
  • behaves hysterically;
  • has difficulty learning new skills and knowledge.

Consequences in adulthood

Alcohol dependence in parents is a traumatic factor, the effect of which persists even after the child grows up.

A person who grew up in the absence of a positive example of a family, skills of interaction with a spouse, simply doesn’t know how to build a marriage, how to take care of children, what should be the relationship in a healthy family. This is often manifested by emotionlessness, a low level of responsibility, selfishness, or fear of relationships. The other extreme is the choice of dysfunctional partners (with alcohol dependence, a tendency to violent behavior).

Moreover, not having acquired communication skills in childhood, an adult experiences difficulties in forming a circle of friends, choosing friends, interacting with colleagues, and building a career.

And the worst thing is that a person can acquire hereditary alcoholism since he doesn’t know another way of life and is inclined to blame genetics for the addiction.


Because of alcoholism, both the addict and everyone living nearby suffer. The best way out is to treat everyone together – dependent on addiction, and the rest – from psychological trauma. A safe sober living environment can support long term recovery. Profound Sober Living center, for instance, shows that they have regular monitoring and required meetings for their residents coupled with mandatory counseling and other services to keep residents on track for prolonged recovery.

It is necessary to stop following the lead of the alcoholic, scourging or saving him. The alcoholic must accept this challenge, and only exiting the game can help him.


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