Living With an Alcoholic Child

Know that alcoholic “children” range in age from childhood to seniors, male and female. It is little wonder that new parents complaining about dirty diapers and insomnia are often advised: Enjoy this time, at least you know where your child is. Many responsible parents are already taking precautions to do this, and don’t do that, before their child is born. They realize that a great deal of responsibility is the preface to bringing a child into the world, and believing that each choice they make before birth will affect their child’s outcome.

Regardless, some unique personality traits and neuropsychiatric potentials and possibilities are already programed in via genetic and environmental factors, regardless of what the parents did or did not do.

Don’t Try to “Fix” or “Micro-Manage”

One of the biggest mistakes that parents make is becoming do-it-yourselfers regarding managing their children’s litany of poor choices and decisions. Child rearing methods and styles may have worked during infancy and childhood but may prove ineffective later on during teen-years and adulthood.

Just because your child is legally no longer your responsibility at a certain age does not often reduce the feeling it is your responsibility to care for him or her, regardless of age.

When it comes to dealing with an alcoholic child, there are many different approaches ranging from enabling to reciprocating anger and discontent. Some parents resort to condescending anger: “I never raise you to act like this!”

Others buy and accept the blame that one of their adult children place upon them.

Some parents may be drained dry by emotional terroristic pleas or demands for money assistance ear-marked for court costs, legal fees or other non-documented matters without knowing if the funds had been used for the stated purpose or for other matters.

Two Truths:

The first is that we never went to parenting school to learn how to handle this type of situation (or any).  Parents often do the best they can by following the equally-untrained parental-figures they idealized as children. All of us can make a list of things we could have done better. However, after childhood is over, you cannot have any do-overs.

The other truth is that once an adult is no longer a child, they continue to have the ability to make smart decisions. One of the sure signs that the adult alcoholic has grown up is when they stop blaming others for their own short comings.

At any age, alcoholic children may choose:

  • Blaming or ownership
  • Addiction or detox
  • Fighting or loving
  • Honesty or deceit
  • Working or slacking
  • Building up or tearing down

Reach Out

If you or someone you know is struggling with a substance abuse problem, please reach out to our addiction specialists for guidance and support, at (877)-RECOVERY.

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