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Some 25 percent of kids under the age of 18 are exposed to family alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the National Institute of Health.
Research has shown that children who grow up in such an environment are more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety. They’re also more likely to use drugs or alcohol themselves.
Shielding Kids From Signs of Addiction
Given how damaging it can be to grow up around addiction, it’s natural to wonder how you can shield and protect your child.
It turns out, that’s the wrong question to be asking—because it’s ultimately impossible.
Younger kids may not know exactly what’s wrong, but they most certainly will know that something’s not right. Without someone to help them understand, they may blame themselves and end up feeling shameful or guilty.
How Can I Help My Child Understand and Cope?
That is the question we should be asking in order to help children who live with drug or alcohol addiction. We don’t lie to our children about other diseases and that’s how we should treat addiction.
The National Association for Children of Alcoholics recommends explaining addiction to younger children like this:
Alcoholism is a sickness. You can’t make it better. You deserve help for yourself. You are not alone. There are people and places that can help.
Older kids, meanwhile, could benefit from attending a support group like Alateen or Children of Addicted Parents.
For both younger and older children, the message should be this: Your parent has a disease that is not your fault and is beyond your control. You are not alone and we are here to help you. We are also trying to get help for your mom or dad.
Hope and Healing at The Raleigh House
The Raleigh House is a treatment center located in Denver where residents are given the help they need to rebuild their lives. Our team of experts work together to tackle both the physical and mental aspects of addiction. The goal isn’t just to be drug or alcohol-free. It’s to gain the tools needed to live a good life. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.