Addiction doesn’t just affect you; it also affects the people around you, including your friends, your coworkers, and your family. One of the most common reasons people give for getting help for addiction is that they realize how addiction has hurt their families. This is especially true of kids, who are still growing and are therefore the most vulnerable to the destructive effects of addiction. Here are some of the ways your drinking might be hurting your kids.
Lack of structure
Kids need structure to feel safe. They need a predictable routine, including regular meal times, regular activities, and a regular bedtime. Too much unpredictability feels chaotic and unsafe. Studies have even found that a dependable routine can shield kids from some some of the negative effects of parental addiction. Unfortunately, addiction makes it very difficult to provide that kind of structure. You may sleep late and get the kids up late for school or you might forget to pick them up from school. You may be too tired to take them to scheduled activities. You may fall asleep, leaving them to fend for themselves for dinner. This makes kids anxious and more prone to depression and substance use later on.
Losing your temper
Kids are going to break things, cause problems, and otherwise get on your nerves. Most of the time, they just don’t know any better. It can be very hard to be patient when kids do things wrong and drinking makes it even harder. You are more likely to lose your temper and shout at your kids or hit them. Your anger may be out of proportion to what they did wrong. At other times, when you haven’t been drinking, you may be far more tolerant and forgiving. This unpredictability makes kids anxious. They might not know which version of you to expect. This often leads to them avoiding you as much as possible.
Setting a bad example
For the most part, kids assume that whatever you do is normal. They learn by watching. If you drink until you pass out every night, they assume that’s normal adult behavior and they are more likely to behave that way themselves. This is one reason having a parent who struggles with addiction is one of the biggest predictors of developing addiction yourself.
More fights and arguments
It’s not just losing your temper with your kids that causes problems. Fighting with your partner scares kids almost as much as being yelled at themselves. They fear for their safety, as you or your partner may turn on them at any moment. They also fear their parents may split up, perhaps abandoning them. If fights and arguments become physical, that’s even worse. Witnessing domestic abuse is a common adverse childhood experience that can lead to addiction.
If you or someone you love is struggling with alcohol addiction or mental illness, we can help. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. We have the resources to effectively treat a dual diagnosis. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.