How Alcoholic Parents Impact Their Children

For approximately one in every five children in the United States, growing up with at least one alcoholic parent at home is a fact of life. These children are not only at a greater risk of developing emotional problems at some point early on in life but they are also four times more likely to become alcoholics than children who grew up in families with no alcoholic parents. 

Making these facts even worse is the likelihood that most children of alcoholics have suffered some form of physical or emotional abuse and neglect. Children of alcoholics will undoubtedly have a wide variety of emotional issues that will need to be addressed but they are in the unfortunate position of not being able to go to their parents for this assistance.

Some of the emotional traumas that the child may need help dealing with include:

How Alcoholic Parents Impact Their Children


These children frequently blame themselves for their parent’s drinking and for their parent’s shortcoming as a caregiver as well.


As the child of an alcoholic, there is a lot to worry about. The situation at home is a source of stress, especially if the alcoholic parent is violent. They may also be constantly worried that the parent will become sick or injured.


The child could be embarrassed by their living situation, and possibly their parent’s behavior. They may refrain from inviting people over to the house and feel like they are hiding a terrible secret at home.

Inability to maintain personal relationships

Because their short life experience has taught them that the people closest to them are unreliable and cannot be trusted they may carry this viewpoint into all other relationships that begin to form.


A child with an alcoholic parent will have very little in their lives that is stable. The rules of the house may constantly be changing to accommodate the sudden highs and lows of the parent’s ever-changing moods. Inconsistent rules, dinner times, bedtimes, etc can lend themselves to a permanent feeling of unease and uncertainty because the child has learned that there is no structure and that nothing can be counted on.


The child will most likely feel anger at the alcoholic parent for being an alcoholic and putting his or her family through hard times. They may also feel anger towards the nonalcoholic parent for not stepping in and putting a stop to the drinking altogether.


The child may feel isolated because they think no one will understand what they are going through so they don’t have any meaningful relationships. They may also feel totally helpless to change, help, or control what is going on around them.

Discovery Place in Tennessee

One of the benefits of rehab is a renewed and improved familial strength. Not only does your family provide you with the love, support, and encouragement that will see you through the recovery process but your relationship with each family member will strengthen and grow. 

Alcoholism takes a lot of time and hard work to overcome, but with the proper team aiding your recovery, like the team at Discovery Place, we can work with you to get you free from your addiction and get your physical and mental health back in order. 

If you or a family member are ready to consider rehab, it is important that you be ready to move forward on that decision. Reach out to the staff here at Discovery Place in Tennessee. for information regarding our Long Term Alternative Recovery Program. You can chat with us on our website or give us a call and speak with a trained staff member at (800) 725-0922 today.


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