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Treatment for children of alcoholics

Special attention should be given to treatment for children of alcoholics, because nearly everyone can recollect individual memories from their childhood, both enjoyable and unpleasant alike. The children of alcoholics have a bigger chance of having unpleasant memories than other children.

The abuse of alcohol by a parent can be very difficult for a child, and possibly even destroy a family. The effects of alcoholism on children is often much more profound than the alcoholic and even the alcoholic's family is willing to admit.

On the other hand, children still love and admire their parents and this should be kept in mind when arranging counseling for children of alcoholics. When explaining to them why they need counseling, it should be emphasized that alcohol is the problem and not the parent. Any attempt to discredit the drinking parent, will be met with resistance and might result in the child refusing treatment.

Children also feel a sense of responsibility towards a drinking parent, and will feel like they are being disloyal by discussing the circumstances with outsiders. Therefore, focusing on the problem, the excessive use of alcohol by the parent, rather than the parent, is most likely to allow the child to relax and open themselves up for counseling. Being able to listen to peers discussing and talking about the same problem will also help themto realize that they are not the only child or children with parents who drink too much, and that help is available.

Failing to provide effective and supportive counseling for children of alcoholics, might have an impact on their social and emotional development. We all know that the effects of the parents' drinking can not be erased from the child's psyche, but helping them understand, through groups like Alateen, that their parent's disease is not their fault, could significantly increase the success of dealing with the problem in a healthy manner.

This could also help them once they are grown up to look back atthe effect of the parent's alcoholism on their life, and see the bad, but also recognize that they loved the parent, and stilldoes.

Effective counseling for children of alcoholics is also necessary to deal with the abuse often present in an alcoholic household. Just like battered women will defend the man who does it to them, so will children, if a parent abuses them. Very often the child will mistake the abuse for love. Counseling can help them overcome the fear, and the love locking them in. Realizing that the parent has no right to do what he/she does, will help the child to put an end to the abuse, by avoiding situation that could lead to abuse and by talking to the alcoholic when he/she is sober about their behavior.

However, violent domestic abuse is not evident in every household where Bacchus reigns supreme. In some cases the abuse takes the form of neglect. Being ignored by a parent can be just as painful, if not more so, than being violently beaten.

Understanding why their parent act the way he/she does is imperative for normal social development of the child of an alcoholic. This can only be achieved with the help of trained counselors and sharing the experience with others who understand.

As a mother or father married to alcoholic, you should realize that you can not hide your alcoholic's problem from your children. Whether you are still together or not, you should get your children into treatment and also be open and honest with them about the problem. Don't let the elephant sit in your living room and let everyone ignore it.

Tackle the issue (with love) and also explain to the alcoholic father or mother, (when they are sober), that you are discussing their problem with the children. This might even motivate thealcoholic to get help.

Pretending that your alcoholic has no effect on your children is potentially devastating. Keep in mind that these little ones are little persons, with emotions and memories. They look at you, their parent, for guidance, advice and love. If you ignore their emotional needs, you will have to accept the painful consequences, which could range between them becoming alcoholics themselves one day, to becoming a complete codependent person.

Treatment for children of alcoholics
Alcoholism and Blame
Alcoholism and Stress
Effects of alcoholism on children
Living with an Alcoholic

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